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New convenience store planned for Norris

  • Contractor Pepe Lenjani works on the remodeling of the former Norris Service Station building, which will open sometime in October as the new Norris Market.

  • Krispy Kruncy Chicken, shown here at the Heiskell Market & Deli, will be on the menu at the new Norris Market.

There’s new life coming to the former Norris Service Station building in downtown Norris: a convenience store with gasoline, snacks, fried chicken and pizza.

Alan Hemani of Knoxville, who bought the old service station in June 2019, said this week that he plans to open the new Norris Market in October, and will have snack foods, dairy products such as milk and ice cream, slushy machines and more.

The “more” includes the Krispy Krunchy brand of fried chicken, and the Hunt Brothers brand of fresh-baked pizza, he said. The store also will offer breakfast sandwiches and biscuits with gravy during the mornings.

Takeout foods will be available either in the store or from a drive-through window, said Hemani, who said he owns several similar convenience stores throughout the Knoxville area. The nearest one is the Haskell Market in Raccoon Valley, he said.

From six to 10 employees will be hired for the business, Hemani said.

Norris City Manager Scott Hackler said the plans for the store still must be approved by the Norris Planning Commission and City Council, but that should happen in September.

“We wanted to do something the community does not already have,” Hemani said. “We’ve done a lot of research and come up with that as what we should be doing in Norris. It will be me and my wife, Shireen.”

Krispy Krunchy Chicken was founded in Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1989, and has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing convenience store-based quick service restaurant concepts in the nation, and also as the nation’s best fast-food fried chicken, according to web sources. It has more than 2,500 locations in 46 states.

Hunt Brothers Pizza, based in Nashville, bills itself as “an American food chain located in convenience stores, gas stations, country markets, sports arenas, and schools,” with “more than 7,300 locations in 28 states as well as some international United States military bases.” It has a local distribution center in Clinton.

As for the new Norris Market, it “will have a small dining area with TVs and some toys and games for kids when they get off school,” Hemani said. “The kids can sit down and chill and get something to eat.”

“We will have the drive-through window for food, drinks and snacks,” he said. “People can drive through and go back to work or school.

“We don’t want to do deli sandwiches because we don’t want to take away from the places across the street,” Hemani said. “We want to have our own niche. We studied what the neighbors have, which is one of the things that took us longer to decide what we wanted to do after we bought the property. There is no fried chicken in Norris, nor is there any Hunt Brothers pizza.”

The Norris Market also plans to sell beer and tobacco products, he said.

A contractor is now working on a complete remodel of the building, which has been unoccupied since the service station closed about three years ago.

Hemani said the store will be open seven days a week, probably from 6 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m., “depending on how it goes.”

“We could open earlier or stay later, if the market needs us to,” he added.