Leaving your home is difficult. But leaving the only country you know to move across an ocean is even harder.
Don Hao, K-State student, has been here for two years, and during this time, he found a common struggle among his people: finding Chinese food.
‘They want traditional food and Manhattan doesn’t have it,’ Hao said.
Because of this, Hao thought of an idea: to open up a store, mainly for K-State students, selling the kinds of items desired.
Russ Wolters, Hao’s friend, was there in the beginning and continues to support Hao.
‘I encouraged him to do it, but it was all Don’s thoughts and plans,’ Wolters said. ‘It just sounded like a good idea and after a year of talking about it, it’s cool to see it really happen.’
The store opened on Jan. 30. Hao has many foods Chinese students love, Wolters said.
Located at 715 N. 12th Street, off 12th and Bluemont Ave, Chinese Grocery LLC is ‘the new one stop shop.’ In addition to Chinese food, which adheres to the longing for a home-cooked meal, the store has American food, because Asian students like to eat snacks and junk food, and it also draws American students to something they are familiar with.
Linda Seng, store manager, applied after arriving in Fort Riley where her husband has been stationed since July of 2009.
‘I have two kids and I just can’t stay at home,’ Seng said. ‘I am more of a go-getting type of person.’
Eventually, Hao plans to hire more employees, but now the two are functioning alone.
‘We work with Chinese students. We make lists and write down what they like, dislike and we are always open to suggestions,’ Seng said.
Chinese Grocery Store LLC aims for all students, gradually bringing in American foods. It mainly has Asian products such as bubble tea, noodles, drinks, snacks, frozen food and sauces, carrying both name brands and off-brands.
Hao and Seng are waiting on their food retail license still so they can add vegetables and different types of food. The building that houses this grocery store has another room connected to the main shop which will be ready in a few weeks.
‘I’m lucky I found this place,’ Hao said.
He saw another property prior to this one and called the management company. They said the place he is now renting would be more suitable for a grocery store.
‘They were right. Business so far is doing well,’ Seng said. ‘We are expecting it to pick up as soon as the second room is open. Just the lacking of vegetables, but once that is in, business will start booming.’
All food is shipped from distributors through a third party. They cannot ship from China because the FDA has to inspect it, therefore disapproving of their going to the source themselves. Everything in Chinese Grocery LCC is FDA approved.
To find out more about the store, promotions and sales, log on to Facebook.com and search firstname.lastname@example.org. Chinese Grocery LLC is open every day from 9 a.m.-10 p.m.