Thorntons, Urban League partner for not-for-profit storefront in West Louisville

The Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center in the West Louisville is getting a not-for-profit storefront in center set to open in early 2021.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Wednesday the Louisville Urban League announced a new partnership with Thorntons for a not-for-profit storefront at the Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center in West Louisville. 

According to a release, the project is designed to kick-start economic development and revitalization of this area of the company’s hometown city.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us,” Louisville Urban League Executive Director Sadiqa Reynolds said at the announcement. 

Thorntons will front the bill for building the convenient store which can be seen from 30th and Jefferson Street.

“That is an expense that we won’t have, which I a very, very grateful for,” Reynolds said. 

The storefront will be made into an exterior facing location of the facility and Thorntons will operate the store as a sustainable not-for-profit venture to give back to the West End, and promote equity and empowerment. 

“Thorntons has said to us, ‘whatever profit we make, after the bills are paid, after the lights, all those things you have to do, whatever profits will be reinvested into the work of the Louisville Urban League,'” Reynolds said.

Thorntons will treat the convenient store like a recruiting and training center. Employees working there will be given an opportunity to work at other Thorntons locations later on. 

Thorntons says they will actively work with local Black-owned businesses to showcase their products and grow their businesses.

“We are passionate about developing people, we are passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion in our business,” said Thorntons President and CEO Simon Richards.

“This investment by Thorntons represents a truly significant opportunity for our community,” said Reynolds. “It encompasses workforce development, Black business development, and a new healthy amenity for a community that needs it. The Path Forward signers have asked for corporations to step up and invest in Black-led, Black-serving initiatives. This commitment from Thorntons represents the kind of investment we are looking for.” 

Store Team Members will be hired from the community to serve the community, offering employment and professional development opportunities. 

RELATED: Norton Healthcare donates major gift to Louisville Urban League

“We are passionate about contributing to the progress and wellbeing of our communities and investing in programs that make a direct and current difference,” said Richards. “We promised this summer that when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion we will be better and we will do better. Thorntons is proud to partner with the Louisville Urban League to achieve their vision and open our first not-for-profit community store serving West End residents, and to bring employment and equity to the community.”

The store, set to open in early 2021, will be open to serve guests seven days a week bringing fresh food and convenience to an underserved community. Guests will enjoy hot fresh foods, beverages, snacking and fill-in grocery needs. 

“This facility belongs to us. I want people who live here to be proud, and I want people to say, ‘I just want to run over and stop in at the sports and learning complex,'” said Reynolds. 

The Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center takes up 24 acres in West Louisville, and will include an indoor and outdoor track and field space, a learning lab, entertainment space, bowling alley and more. 

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