Eric Campbell is a man of many interests.
Campbell pastors Word for Life Ministries, sells real estate, and now he is the proud owner of the Foodland grocery store.
As a teen, Campbell’s first job was working for Elton Culpepper at Piggly Wiggly. “That was my first paid job, and I learned a lot about grocery stores,” said Campbell. He also worked for Walmart, learning about retail selling. He was about to be made a manager, but didn’t feel that is what he wanted to do at the time.
He went on to do a variety of other things, but never forgot this experiences in food and retail sales. So when the opportunity to own Foodland came open, he couldn’t pass it up. He began to consider it at the first of the year, worked through the process, and closed on July 15.
“I want to make this a community store. I am a community person. I want to continue doing what Pam Smith has been doing for over 40 years. This store has always been locally owned, and I have been here all my life,” said Campbell. His daughter worked at Foodland before she went to college, and his son Justin is already working there in hope that the store will stay in the family. So, he wants to make it successful. “I am going to focus on cleanliness from the floors to the produce, like a hospital. We have wonderful meat here which is managed by David Breland, as well as produce with Harvell Breland, and as long as we provide excellent customer service with the help of Gene Drawdy, people will come back,” Campbell said. He said the name won’t change; it will remain Foodland.
“I believe that it was by God’s grace that I got this store. The whole opportunity came from God and He is making me a good steward of his blessing,” Campbell said. Because he has been so blessed, he wants to pay it forward.
“I want to help teens with jobs and be a role model. I want kids to be able to look back and say that Mr. Campbell taught them good work ethics. I promised God that I would do that.”
“This was a good opportunity that I was afforded in December of 2019, and I just couldn’t pass it up. I prayed with my fiance’ Sheila at the time, who is now my wife, and we believed that this was the right thing to do,” he said.
Campbell has no intention of ending his pastorate to work the store. “I am going to continue pastoring my church; in fact, they are excited about this opportunity for me. I want to be able to help with the food bank through the church, and things like that. I just want to give back. I have always wanted to give back, but now I am in a better position to do that.”
He hopes to have a grand opening or customer appreciation day when COVID settles down. But for now, Campbell just wants people to come by the store and say hello.
“I want people to come into the store and give me feedback,” he said. “I want them to know that this is their community store.”