Lafayette and the Greater Community


Zaida Bell-Frantz

Author Noah Sprout and Lafayette Times photographer Violet Updike standing in front of the Good Foods Co-op.

Lafayette High School is located near the Southland Neighborhood in Lexington Kentucky, the neighborhood is full of small local businesses, restaurants, and shops making it the perfect community for a high school. Lafayette itself is nestled behind historic and charming colonial homes, with large oak trees and narrow streets. These narrow streets are usually full of student cars, for our student lot is quite small, but this allows for a scenic walk while going into school. Beyond Lafayette lies the Southland Drive Community, a dynamic area, teeming with local and sustainable businesses.

Just a short walk from the school, lies the Good Foods Co-op, a local organic market and cafe. Good Foods was started in 1972, with the promise of putting the customer first. The Co-Op in the title stands for co-owned, which means that you can become an owner of the business, and earn small deals and perks. Good Foods moved to Southland in 1999, from the Woodhill location. The original, older Short Street location was demolished in 1981.

Lafayette students love Good Foods. It’s a place to study, a place to grab a quick bite or a place to just sit and talk over coffee. Good Foods is like a second home to some. Coffee every morning. A snack after school. The staff may even know you by name. Our own Editor-in- Chief, Zaida Bell-Frantz is one of these people. She says, “I’ve been going to Good Foods for my entire life. Many of the workers know me by name, and many close family friends have worked there. It’s a great place to go and get food in a welcoming environment.”

Good Foods is a business owned by many, but what about a smaller affair, like McLeod’s Coffee House. McLeod’s is a fairly recent addition to the Southland area, but it is making a big impact. McLeod’s Coffee House is almost entirely staffed by people with special needs or disabilities, giving them the opportunity for employment and the opportunity to be treated like anyone else. That was one of the goals of Pastor Brewster McLeod. In a 2019 interview with WKYT Mcleod is quoted as saying, “If Down syndrome or special needs make you nervous, you probably need to come in here and relax and just treat them like anyone else.”

McLeod was also quoted as saying, “They got joy, they got heart, they want to work.” And work they do, McLeod’s Coffee House opened in mid-October of 2019 and has been doing great since.

Southland is home to many restaurants, but it is also home to many local businesses like The Lexington Habitat for Humanity Restore, Bluegrass Youth Ballet, Crankworks Bicycles, and Collins Bowling Center. Bluegrass Youth Ballet, in particular, has a special story. In 1994, Adalhi Aranda immigrated to the US, from León, Mexico where she trained to become a professional dancer. She danced for Lexington Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Chicago and Kentucky Ballet Theatre, where she became the director for the Academy. In 2003, she opened Bluegrass Youth Ballet and continued to teach and choreograph dance. The studio proved to be a success, as many students went on to pursue careers in professional dance, all around the country. The studio was also named 2005 MINORITY BUSINESS OF THE YEAR. According to, “Our vision is to have enhanced recognition, awareness, and the accompanying financial support from businesses, community partners, and schools in order to provide equal access to dance opportunities for all youth in Lexington and surrounding counties, with a special emphasis on outreach to disadvantaged or marginalized youth.” Although BYB has been around since 2003, they are also a newer addition to the Southland area, but they fit in just right. Adalhi’s own daughter, also named Adalhi, is a student at Lafayette High School and participates in the SCAPA dance program.

Southland Drive as a whole is now undergoing a renovation— a $1.8 million renovation. Though the plans have been delayed due to funding, new trees have been added and small projects have been completed, as well as a repaved road. The goal of the renovation was to increase foot traffic along the entirety of Southland, this was going to be done by adding sidewalks, new garden spaces, and colorful signs and murals. Another main goal was to keep the long-standing history of Southland Drive alive. In a June 2019 interview, with the Lexington Herald Leader, Councilmember Amanda Bledsoe said, “Southland Drive has one of the oldest and most independently-owned business corridors in Lexington,” Bledsoe said. “As such, people in the neighborhood really frequent those businesses daily. This [renovation] allows a much safer environment for them to do so.”

Southland Drive is a wonderfully diverse and unique community hosting not just basic businesses, but an organic market owned by its own customers, a coffee shop acting as a safe-haven to those with disabilities, and a dance studio, helping to bring color and life to an already vibrant neighborhood. Yet it doesn’t stop there, Southland holds farmer’s markets, Christmas tree lightings at the fire station, street fairs and so many more local events. The community feeling along Southland Drive has allowed me to create many special memories, with friends new and old, that I hope to cherish even long after high school.
If you ever find yourself between Nicholasville Road and Rosemont Parkway, maybe stop for a second and grab lunch at Good Foods, or talk to a staff member at McLeod’s because you might find your something special on Southland Drive.

Noah Sprout
Co-Editor-in-Chief Emma Taylor at Good Foods Co-Op enjoying “good food” and good company.