New grocery store meets demands in the Sault
SAULT STE. MARIE -- In Sault Ste. Marie, more and more students are arriving in the city from places like India and Bangladesh.
Now, a new South Asian store called The Indian Bazaar is open, and it caters to the unique needs of its clients.
The owner, Hariram Mukundan, says it's the only store of its kind in the Soo.
"I used to bring in lots of groceries from India. We used to have two suitcases checked in, one would be full of grocery items and one would be with my clothing and stuff like that. So that's how we used to bring it when we travelled back, or the nearest you could find is in Toronto," said Mukundan.
His new store offers items from all over South Asia, including various types of rice, spices, snacks and sweets, as well as frozen food and ready to make items. He says he wanted to open the store to make newcomers from that region feel welcome.
"To provide an option for them with respect to the brand that they know and the cuisine and food which they are aware of… so they will feel at home because good is the one that connects everyone," he explained.
International students from South Asia who attend the local college and university say it's a relief to have somewhere to buy things they're familiar with.
"You miss a lot. Indian food, home food, home everything. But before the Indian Bazaar, I used to go to the grocery stores and not find the food I like or can prepare," said Jeevan Madishetty, Sault College student from India.
"In order to adapt change, you need a bit of motivation. You need familiar faces, familiar items which used to use back in India. So, that really helps you, small, small things," added Manan Desai, Sault College student from India.
"That's what's going to make you miss home when you don't get the food that you're looking for. So we want to check that box for people," said Mukundan.
He says the hope is to bridge the gap between newcomers and Saultites by encouraging people in the community to try something new.
He adds that it's important to support all different cultures and to make everyone feel at home in the city.