Celebrating its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Sault Mayor Christian Provenzano Friday, Indian Bazaar is an Indian grocery store which offers a taste of home for the Sault’s growing South Asian community, as well as those interested in cooking Indian food for the first time.
Hariram Mukundan is Indian Bazaar’s owner.
“The ribbon cutting was an exciting moment. Up until the last minute we couldn’t find scissors to cut the ribbon,” Mukundan laughed, speaking to SooToday.
“It was great. It was a good turnout. It was good for the mayor to make it, and members of the public came, some of my friends and Sault College staff came. It was fantastic.”
Indian Bazaar sells everything Indian food lovers could want, including spices (both hot and mild), frozen food (all vegetarian at this point), many different types of rice (including gluten free rice), wheat flour, snacks, juices, tea, and also some skin and hair beauty products for women.
“Whatever you’re looking for, I’ve got it for you. We’ve got it all,” Mukundan said, adding he is both happy and proud to be the owner of what is currently the Sault’s only Indian grocery store.
“Food is one of the things that connects you to your homeland. We used to bring a suitcase full of groceries from India every two years,” he smiled.
“Local grocery stores have been supportive and have provided some Indian products, but from a food perspective, there are different regions in India, along with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, with different tastes in food.”
Indian Bazaar, Mukundan said, aims to bridge the gap, selling food items from India’s different regions, as well as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, for those Indian newcomers to the Sault eager for a taste of home, while also introducing non-Indian, native born Saultites to Indian food.
Mukundan, a McDougall Energy project manager who also teaches project management evening classes at Sault College, started Indian Bazaar as an online business in May before deciding to move into a bricks and mortar location at 153 Great Northern Road.
There is room for expansion at the rear of the building, Mukundan added.
“Our customers get homesick, and here, they’re able to find the brands they’re looking for, and it also helps in providing some employment opportunities (Indian Bazaar currently employing four South Asian Sault College students on a part time basis). As time goes on I hope to convert them to full time.”
Business was brisk during Indian Bazaar’s first two days in business, Mukundan said, estimating 60 customers visited the store.
Mukundan, a native of India, has lived in the Sault for nearly 15 years.
“It’s been a fun ride. I first lived in Toronto and BC when I came to Canada, but the Sault is my home.”