By Tony McCray
“I believe in helping my people!” said African-American businessman, Leylande Andrews, who has purchased the corner store on the corner of Davis and Jordan Streets on Pensacola’s East Side. At 500 East Jordan Street, located across the street from the historic and iconic Ice House, Andrews has reversed a trend in Pensacola by acquiring a business from Asian owners that is a well-known stop for quick shopping needs in the neighborhood. “One reason that I bought the store was to set an example for our Black kids that we can own businesses in our neighborhood!” said Andrews in an interview with the Pensacola Voice Newspaper.
The “LA Store” (Andrews’s initials) is the brand name that Andrews and his management team decided to place on the sign over the entrance of the store as they have begun remodeling the building. New outer doors are on the way along with a full service deli with salads, soups, gumbos and other healthy foods. Beer and wine already grace the store shelves along with some sportswear attire. The management team of Dr. Shelton Payne, Martin Hendricks, and Abe Tolbert, Jr. have stated that they want to hear from the community on the types of items they would like to see the store offer to its consumers.
Andrews is also the operator and a barber at the Peoples Barber Shop at 2112 N. Davis Highway and owns the apartment building next door. In his interview with the Pensacola Voice, Andrews said that his influences to achieve success and serve the community comes from his father, Thearary “Ham” Andrews; his mother, Kymberly Andrews; Luella Mitchell, his grandmother; and his aunt Georgia Blackmon, the owner of the Gathering Awareness and Book Center. “I really feel like I have not started the vision I have for my community. My goal is to get into the store whatever the community needs!”
The management team and virtual think tank of Dr. Shelton Payne, Martin Hendricks, and Abe Tolbert, Jr., all continue to play a role in the operation of both businesses, the Peoples Barber Shop and the LA Store.
Dr. Payne is a hands-on manager of the store. He received his Ed. D. in Diversity Studies from the University of West Florida. When asked why he is involved with Andrews on managing the store, he responded, “I believe in what LA is trying to do and I support Black Business and even with my degrees I still need to experience the hands-on management of a business operation”. Abe Tolbert, Jr., at 75 years of age, the son of the NAACP civil rights leader, Abraham Tolbert Sr., provides the wisdom of longevity, community experiences and his many contacts to add his support to the management team. Andrews and his team are asking for the community to support the new business enterprise and asking you to excuse their remolding as they work to put their signature design on the store. The hours of operation are from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm daily.
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