Westside Convenience bears more resemblance to a New York City-style bodega than a typical Midwestern convenience store. You can find hot fresh food, household items, freshly brewed Kool-Aid and a seemingly endless array of snacks.
W. Maurice Summerville, owner and operator of Westside, took inspiration from the convenience stores he remembered frequenting as a kid growing up on Kingsley Court. He’s a proud member of Lansing’s west-side community.
“There was a very similar store when I was growing up. It was actually kitty corner from where Westside is right now,” said Summerville. “From 12 years old on up, that was my place to get hot food, snacks, stuff like that. It inspired me from a young age.”
From his teen years on, Summerville dreamed of one day opening his own convenience store. His two aunts, Jackie and Rosie, also served as inspiration. Sadly, Rosie passed away before Westside ever opened. His aunt Jackie is still around and helping out with the business.
“It feels really good to have a place like this over here. That’s why I named it Westside. We represent the whole city, but this is home,” said Summerville. “It’s where I grew up. You should never forget where you come from, whether you’re successful or have no success.”
The hot food counter is the soul of Westside. It serves a varied selection of delicacies including fried goods, macaroni and cheese, nachos and more. Chicken wings are coming to the menu soon.
On the weekends, Westside serves BBQ hot off the grill outside in the parking lot.
Sometime in June, Summerville is planning a mixture of a grand opening and “community day.” He hopes to have the event fully planned by early June. When the day finally comes, he wants it to be a celebration of the community he grew up in.
Summerville plans to serve free hot dogs and freeze pops to the neighborhood youth.
“This is how I want to give back to my community,” he said. “I just wanted to do something nice for all the people around here.”
So far, the customers have reciprocated Summerville’s appreciative attitude. He said that he’s heard only good things from the people who walk through his doors.
“Customers love that there’s finally a new convenience store in the neighborhood,” said Summerville. “I just want people to know, we’re here and we have great food for the whole city.”