Neighbors work to preserve Southwest Tallahassee landmark, see what’s next for Robinson’s Grocery

Neighbors in Southwest Tallahassee continue the push to preserve Robinson’s Grocery Store. While new funding is available to help move that mission forward, some say more community resources are needed for everyday concerns. Watch the video above to hear from those working to preserve history here.


“It’s crucial for people to know the history but also for us to reclaim that building so that we can use it for the forward movement of our community.” That building Delaitre Hollinger is talking about has been standing in the Bond Community for almost 80 years. “For most of that time period, it was a building that people relied on and depended on so they could feed their families.”

In 1960 Johnny Robinson and his two brothers William and Moses founded Robinson’s Grocery Store and operated until 2007. Now, the store faces an uncertain future.

Some say tear it down. Others say preserve it as part of neighborhood history.

Earlier this month, the Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency voted to accept a state grant to preserve the building. With that grant came the requirement that the building’s historical pieces be preserved while leaders work to shore up the actual stability of the building.

“I will not be supporting the motion that’s on the table today because I think it restricts us to much at this point.” Tallahassee’s Mayor did not vote in favor of accepting that grant money. His main concern? “I’m very concerned about accepting the state’s historic preservation dollars, which does add more money to the final price tag that we do not even know how much more money it’s going to cost where that money is going to come from, who is going to cover the cost. And that’s just the brick and mortar.”

He also said nobody is advocating for tearing the building down.

It’s an area that’s seen a lot of historic landmarks. This church sat behind Robinson’s Grocery Store for years. While Bond Community Pastor at Cathedral Faith Ministries, Joseph Manning, says he supports preserving our past, “I think we could put some other things in here that could benefit the community.”

Pastor Manning mentions resources like internet access, a place to get food, and to pay utility bills are needed.

This map from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows this area is surrounded by food desert.

Even so, Manning says, “this building means a lot to the community.”

It’s an idea Hollinger says he’ll hold onto as the project moves forward. “It’s critical that history be preserved so people can know where we came from.”

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