412 Grayson Parkway
Grayson, GA 30017
When COVID-19 hit, Grayson resident Blake Hawkins was amazed at its ability to bring people “back to their basic roots.” A bout of food shortages resulted in people turning to local farmers and meat suppliers for help. It was a wake-up call, in a sense, that opened everyone’s eyes to the hard work that goes into maintaining our way of life — agriculture. Raised on a farm with a job in agriculture, Blake was well aware of this. However, he wasn’t aware of the impact he and other Georgia cultivators could make until now.
The beauty of Grayson Farmacy, Blake’s locally sourced food market, is that it won’t just benefit the people of Grayson, but it will also benefit farmers across the state of Georgia. It will serve as a bridge between producers and consumers by doing the work for them. First, Blake and his team have researched and toured farms across the state so buyers don’t have to. Second, Grayson Farmacy will generate a steady stream of customers that farmers in rural Georgia wouldn’t have reached otherwise.
What exactly will set Grayson Farmacy apart from farmer’s markets or other locally sourced produce in Gwinnett? The most obvious answer is that it’s brick and mortar. It will supply Gwinnett with 100% organic, 100% non-treated, locally sourced produce year-round. What changes the game even more, is the educational element Blake plans to include. “We want to go deeper than just the retail side of things and offer the community educational programs as well,” he explains. This includes a classroom which will house homeschool classes, cooking and preservation classes, gardening classes and more.
Construction of Grayson Farmacy is currently underway at The Railyard in downtown Grayson in a 1900 era structure. Blake knew it was the place as soon as the addition of The Railyard was announced. However, he knew the decision would come with challenges. He explains that the most difficult part of the entire process has been maintaining the integrity of the building while also working to make it functional. Regardless of the struggles, Blake stands by his decision to repurpose as it goes along with Grayson Farmacy’s mission of sustainability.
For Blake, the pros of starting his business far outweigh the cons. “The journey has led me to incredible craftsmen and farmers across the state,” he explains. Blake recalls each farm he toured and each farmer’s passion for providing quality produce. He’s eager to share the knowledge he’s gained with the rest of Grayson and give the produce he’s sourced the attention it deserves. The doors of Grayson Farmacy will open sometime in early 2022, but until then, Blake promises, “We will do our utmost to source locally, to maintain the quality of life in Gwinnett County.”