By Ashley Benkarski

NASHVILLE, TN— If you’re missing a taste of home this year, chances are you’ll find some comfort in the newly-opened A&M Marketplace inside the Nashville Farmers’ Market. 

Owner and operator Martha Lupai opened the store when her primary business, S&E African Hair Braiding, was put on hiatus due

A&M Marketplace CEO Martha Lupai stands at the entrance of her newly-opened store inside the Nashville Farmers’ Market.

to the COVID-19 pandemic. With a love for the North Nashville community she’s served for over a decade and possessing flexibility in entrepreneurship, Lupai opened the grocery store in early November to offer fresh vegetables and fruits, local products and ingredients found across the globe. 

You can find it next to the red “I Love Nash” sign right inside the entrance of the Farmer’s Market on the west side of the building. If a national flag is on the heart in that sign, you can probably find something from that country in the Marketplace.

Ask Lupai and she’ll tell you food brings people together. She believes in that idea so much she made it the slogan for the store.

With a diversified inventory sourced through international and global vendors it’s likely the store will have something for everyone, and items not found in the store can be ordered. “We want people to feel at home,” Lupai said. “We want to give what the customers want. So when the customer asks, we go to the end of the earth to find that product they want.” 

While many items are foreign and therefore hard to find here in the U.S., Lupai has made a point to make partnerships with local vendors who provide items such as collard and turnip greens, meats, honey and others. And she’s been working with nonprofit Nashville Food Project by donating goods such as fruits and vegetables.

As a Sudanese refugee, Lupai’s story resembles much of what Nashville has aspired to be. She said she loves to hear the stories from customers when they find something in her store they hadn’t had in years or that reminds them of their culture and family. “That kind of story is why we brought [A&M Marketplace] here,” she remarked.

There are other stories, too. Lupai spoke of a vendor who has never had their products in a store until now. “It was his first time selling to a store. You can see his smile because he worked hard for it,” she beamed.

The prices of the goods are reasonable and Lupai is working to accept EBT for those enrolled in the program to buy healthy food. There are also plans for a kitchen to make hot meals, she said.

And just in time for the holiday season, A&M Marketplace is offering gift boxes full of spices, teas and candles and skin care items from the small in-store beauty shop, Neta’s Naturals. The products are hand-made with natural ingredients.

“I just love serving North Nashville. North Nashville to me is like home,” Lupai said, adding she wants to give back to the community that welcomed her and gave her the chance to achieve great things.

For those who don’t want to risk shopping indoors, A&M Marketplace is conveniently located near a side entrance of the building and curbside service is offered. For information visit or