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Nashwauk grocery store's new owner hopes to make everyone feel at home

Seraphia Gravelle stands in front a grocery store building.
Brisa Bella
Seraphia Gravelle stands in front of Nashwauk Market, which will now be known as Brisa Bella. The grocery store is expected to host a grand opening in early 2024.

Grocery stores are an important part of rural communities and Seraphia Gravelle wants to turn the Nashwauk Market into an inclusive community food hub called Brisa Bella.

NASHWAUK — Brisa Bella means “beautiful breeze” in Spanish and is the new name of the Nashwauk grocery store.

Seraphia Gravelle has worked for years to make the Iron Range more inclusive. As co-executive director and founder of VEMA – Voices for Ethnic and Multicultural Awareness, she has worked with others to focus on topics like food and free haircuts for students of color. From street tacos, entrepreneurship and writing workshops, fair representation is at the core of the work she does in community.

“Knowing that this grocery store is such an important staple in this community, I didn’t want to see it closed.”
Seraphia Gravelle

Gravelle recently joined the KAXE Morning Show to talk about her new business aimed to cater to people who are new to the Iron Range who don’t feel at home.

“They need to have access to the things that they use on a regular basis," Gravelle said. That means ingredients for foods important to their families and culture.

Gravelle moved to the Iron Range over two decades ago and is a Hispanic native of Texas. She said, “Knowing that this grocery store is such an important staple in this community, I didn’t want to see it closed.”

Gravelle’s first goal is to get Brisa Bella up and running to full capacity. From there, she hopes to add more ethnic foods that are not readily available nearby, as well as more vegan and gluten-free options.

“The Iron Range has an elder community here that doesn’t necessarily have the ability to travel 20-30 minutes to the next bigger town to get their groceries. So, having a store that is close to them is really important,” she said.

“Without the rural stores like this one here and in these small communities, it creates a food desert. With access to food already being difficult, not having a store like this would be detrimental.”

Gravelle said she hopes for a grand opening for Brisa Bella in the next few months.

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Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.
Jennifer has worked at Northern Community Radio since 2006 and spent 17 years as Membership Manager. She shifted to a host/producer position in 2023. She hosts the Monday Morning Show and is the local host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" a few days a week. She also writes public services announcements and creates web stories.