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 JB: I am Jimmy Banks, from Jimmy’s Cheyenne Marker. We are an independent market.  We serve meats, produce, grocery, hot foods, beauty supplies and wines & spirits.
OOV:  So, You do it all, here.  Somebody said, “If you want it, go to Jimmy’s.”

JB:  That’s right, we do it all!  We will try to accommodate you the best we can and if we don’t have it, we’ll get it for you!

 OOV:  Maybe that’s what makes you such a great community partner.  There are so many people in the community who know you; not only by the name of your store, but who, actually, know you, the person. How did you become such a fixture in the community?

 JB:  I grew up in the community all my life and I’ve been in the grocery business over 30 years.  I’ve tried to be personable and understanding with what goes on in our community. I basically try to understand how individuals think and feel, without being in that situation, trying to picture myself in that situation.  Everybody needs help in some way and everybody can help in a small way.  It doesn’t have to be in a large capacity, it could be something as simple as a hug or a smile.  Understanding the needs of our community comes naturally to me because, just as I give, I’ve been given to.  When you give love you receive love, as well, it’s just a natural fit.

OOV:  How did you get started, how long have you been in the business and how long have you been in this location?

JB:  I’ve been in the business since I was 18 years old.  A couple of guys, named Herman Thrower and Irwin Brown, saw me working across the street from their small store.  They must have liked what they saw because they asked me if I would be interested in working for them after I graduated from school, and I said yes.  It didn’t happen right away but it eventually did and that’s how it started.  We started with the old “Big 8 Market” and from then, I have been brought up and raised in the grocery business through this community. The business is a perfect fit.  It’s been 32 years, to be exact, that we have tried to accommodate the community and they have supported us and showed love towards us.  It’s a job, just to make things happen. It’s a grind, but even as we are going through the growing pains of our new location, the community has stood by us.  We appreciate them and that’s another reason why we try to be understanding of our community. They are carrying us, supporting us and helping us as well.  We are growing together.  We have been at this location for two years.  Before here, we owned a couple of old markets:  the “Big 8 Market” on Owens; then the “Super 6 Market” on MLK and Lake Mead; we relocated first to Jimmy’s on 8th street and Hart; from there went back to Lake Mead for the second relocation of Jimmy’s Market until ’97.  We sold the business anticipating getting back within a couple of years but it’s been 10 years.  We were still serving the community by driving semi tractor trailers load up heading to my mother’s house hauling, unloading and distributing products to the community until we relocated here.  

OOV:  When people talk about going to Jimmy’s, they don’t sound as if they’re going to an establishment, but to a good friend’s.  Tell me some of the things you have contributed to in the community. 

JB:  We have supported several youth groups for a long time. We support: schools and their functions; Thanksgiving and Christmas give-a ways and dinners; sponsor sports leagues: baseball, basketball and football; collaborated with churches to feed the needy with food banks.  In conjunction with my nephew, Marcus Banks, we have sponsored 50 to 100 families for Christmas shopping sprees– it goes on and on.  The main thing is to be able to give  from the heart. All that love we share and show is because we receive a lot of love from the community so whatever we can contribute, within our means, we try to do. 

OOV: Along with your philanthropic endeavors and being such an integral part of the community, what are some of the products that you have that people may not be able to get in the valley other than here? 

JB:     We have lots of Cajun, southern and Creole products.  We carry things such as: alligator filets, Bodan and D&D sausages, rabbit, frog legs and quail– too many products to mention.  We’ve been carrying these products for years, and now that we are back, we are continuously adding many new items to our list. 

OOV:    Why did you pick this location?  Some people say that you are the only Black owned grocery store in Las Vegas; is this true? 

JB:     I didn’t actually pick this location; it kind of picked me.  I  tried various locations that didn’t work for whatever reasons but finally someone remembered a project we were putting together at an earlier location and felt that what I had to offer would be good for this location.  So they actually came and picked me.  It isn’t too far from our Westside community, here on the edge of North Las Vegas.  I didn’t want to get far from my roots, which are right in the middle of the Westside, and so I thought we could make it happen at this location.  

OOV:  I notice that you have other businesses here. Do you support small local businesses and what has that support been? 

JB:  It’s not that I’m supporting them; I’m assisting them how I might need assistance if I was just starting out.  You’re not always fortunate at that time to be able to land a location or to be somewhere you can get your product out and get your business started.  Someone might ask me to set up a display booth with their products. Nine times out of ten, if it will not hurt me, I just have those individuals’ products here.   It helps them while helping me because I’ve done something in my small way to help them try to do something large. 

OOV:  What do you want people to know about Jimmy’s Market that they may not know? 

JB:  We appreciate and try to show our appreciation the minute the customer walks through our doors and we try to accommodate them.  If you feel you are in need of certain items and products that you know exist out there, if you let us know then we will try to get it for you.  I want you to feel at home which a lot of our customers do.  They look at it like this is their store and it is! They come in a lot of times and try to tell me what to do, so it’s just like a home away from home.  We want you to feel like you shop with us because you are a part of what makes us happen and, in turn, we’re here to serve you. 

OOV: So, ultimately, Jimmy’s is here to stay? 

JB:     Yes, very much so!


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