Slideshow: Take a tour of Turnip Truck’s new West Nashville store
By Marq Burnett
Mar 30, 2020, 7:48am EDT
Like a lot of Nashvillians and Middle Tennessee residents, John Dyke is dealing with disasters on two fronts.
Dyke, founder and owner of Turnip Truck, opened the grocery’s third location, in West Nashville, on Friday, but said it’s been a challenging few weeks due to both the tornado and COVID-19.
Dyke recalls spending “three days in rubble” after a deadly tornado struck Nashville. Dyke’s East Nashville store sustained roof damage, but a warehouse near John C. Tune Airport storing his equipment was flattened.
Dyke was able to salvage a few countertops, but said he was fortunate enough to find closed grocery stores in North Carolina where he could buy equipment during an auction.
Now, he’s managing a grocery store in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.
“I had to remind myself to look around because we still have a neighborhood that’s torn to pieces right in front of our eyes,” Dyke said. “It’s almost like we don’t notice it because we’ve moved from one thing to the next.”
Dyke opened the doors to Turnip Truck’s third location on Friday.
“We wanted to have an essential place for our neighbors on the west side to be able to come shop,” Dyke said. “There are so many stores that aren’t able to meet the demand, so I felt it was critical for us to open up.”
Dyke said sales have almost doubled in recent weeks, calling it “extreme growth” inside the stores.
“Everything I’ve seen has been two thumbs up, twice,” Dyke said of the response he’s seen to the store opening. “Everybody’s excited about having this in their backyard so they’re not having to drive out of their neighborhood to get the critical supplies that we all kind of need at this moment.”
The 15,000-square-foot store offers produce, a butcher, bulk foods, beer and wine, supplements, health and beauty items, and a filtered-water station. The produce is sourced within 200 miles. In a typical season, 90% or more of Turnip Truck’s produce is organic, but a news release notes that this may be affected by “the current situation.”
The store also plans to have a hot bar, salad bar, 100% organic juice bar and deli. However, due to the coronavirus, the salad and hot bars are currently closed at all Turnip Truck locations. In an effort to meet increased demand for groceries throughout the city, Dyke said he’s hired 30 new employees to ensure shelves remain stocked at stores.
Rooftop solar panels will provide 15% of the store’s energy. The store will have recycling stations; it also won’t use plastic grocery bags, a company policy since 2014.
Dyke, an East Tennessee native, opened the original Turnip Truck Natural Market on Woodland Street in East Nashville in 2001. He later opened a location in the Gulch.