Downtown Tuscaloosa is receiving its first real convenience store, as Riverside Market is set to replace ABC Select Spirits off University Boulevard in the coming months.

The 4,000 square-foot space isn't just being remodeled – it's being rebuilt from the ground up with approximately $30,000 to $50,000 being poured into the building.

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"When we came in, this was in bad shape. All the floors had to be changed, we are bringing in all-new coolers, we are changing the lights and we're changing the front of the store to be completely glass," said Mohammed Saleh, owner and operator of Riverside Market. "It's going to be a very nice addition to downtown and campus"

Saleh came to Tuscaloosa back in 2009 and started to learn English. He dug his roots here deeper when he attended the University of Alabama, and eventually graduated in 2017 with a degree in mechanical engineering. However, he always had a knack for business.

Throughout school, he worked at around 15 gas stations and convenience stores from Hargrove Road to Paul W. Bryant Drive, even managing a few stores. It was here that he learned the ins and outs of the business.

"I went to school for engineering to appease my parents, but if I could've picked something different, it would have been business," Saleh said. "This is what I love to do."

Saleh acquired the former ABC Store's property in January and got his business license at the start of March. He envisioned an accessible store that caters to a younger crowd. He says that inside the store, customers will see all kinds of soft drinks, beer, wine and cigarettes, among other things.

"If you look at the number of people, and the level of traffic in this area, with the number of restaurants and businesses around you, there hasn't been a place that's easy to reach for something quick and convenient."

Saleh expects the store to be open and operating by late May or early June.

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