Downtown Market opening in Uptown Columbus

Published: Jun. 27, 2023 at 9:23 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Something that’s been talked about for years is starting to come to life in Uptown Columbus.

A new Market is opening in the heart of downtown Columbus, bringing much-needed grocery supplies to the area, along with a family-friendly atmosphere to dine and relax.

Owner Cesar Bautista is not new to the food industry. The first business he opened in the Fountain City is located right next door: Bodega 1205. He’s been working on the Downtown Market project for three weeks and expects to be open for business in the next two weeks.

“What we want to bring is fresh products to compliment the market on Saturday,” Bautista told News Leader 9′s Ashlee Williams. “I get it, Saturday is booming on the market side, but what about Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or the rest of the week?”

Cesar Bautista moved to Columbus in 2019 after being in the military and travelling across the country. Now calling Columbus home, he says he saw the need for a grocery store in Uptown, and that was the initial goal for Bodega Latin American Restaurant located right next store.

“If we needed to go somewhere to buy produce or something, we’d either have to go to Wal-Mart, Publix.. there is nothing really close to us,” he explained.

... but more than necessity, Bautista said he is breathing new life into the former bank in the historic Empire building, bringing community together whether for work, a meal or a cup of coffee.

Columbus native Jacy Jenkins has lived Downtown for more than a decade. She said the need for an accessible market has been a hot topic for years.

“I’m incredibly excited. I’ve loved seeing how Bodega has expanded,” Jenkins said, “We’ve needed something like this for the past ten years that I’ve lived down here. The coffee, the atmosphere, the old-school pharmacy style... we’ve needed a hub like this downtown.”

The goal is to sell local goods including basic cooking and cleaning supplies along with fresh cut meats, coffee, a salad bar and more.

“I also want the neighbors to have a place to hang out, not just buy groceries,” Bautista said. “Something less formal, more spontaneous.. You come in your golf cart, grab a beer, we’re going to have beer and wine as well.. and hopefully your wife calls you and asks why did you spend five hours looking for a loaf of bread in the market. "

Right now, crews are finishing up electrical and plumbing work and also awaiting a few licenses.

The plan is to fully open shop in the next two weeks.