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When the COVID-19 pandemic ground the world to a halt a few years ago, many Minnesotans turned to delivery services for their groceries. But as 2020 came to a close, Choua Xiong and her husband, Kao Vue, kept hearing: Why doesn’t anyone deliver Asian and African groceries?
“We don’t have any sort of service like that, especially when the pandemic hit,” Xiong said. “You have to go out if you want the Asian or African groceries that you’re looking for. You have to go to the store, and there was no convenience where you could order online.
“I just kept hearing, ‘Why doesn’t anyone want to offer this in Minnesota?’ We just decided to jump on the idea, and once we did, we realized there are a ton of people who want it.”
Xiong, 33, and Vue, 33, who are second-generation Hmong Americans, decided to meet that need by opening the Global Grocery Market in 2020.
“Right when the pandemic was happening, I was getting laid off and my husband was getting a pay cut,” said Xiong.
The Brooklyn Park-based business specializes in delivering Asian and African groceries within a 40-mile radius of their storefront, where customers can also shop in person. The shelves are stocked with Chinese mustard greens, enoki mushrooms, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), fufu, and other ingredients that are difficult or impossible to get with mainstream delivery services.
“We bring in specialty foods where not a lot of your normal modern mainstream grocery delivery services will not carry,” Xiong said.
The Global Grocery Market buys its product from local wholesalers. The business employs family and friends in the summer. However, Xiong and Vue shoulder all of the work most of the year.
“A lot of times it is just us running it,” said Xiong. “When we get busy, we are just very communicative with our customers. If we’re running a little bit behind, we’re going to reach out and notify our customers.”
Vue handles the business’s deliveries. He spends up to 10 hours a day on the road driving from house to house. He joked that he sometimes feels like a zombie, but a sense of duty drives him on those long days.
“I really want to provide to my community,” said Vue. “In the Asian grocery industry, I see a lack of fast, quick service.”
Vue makes anywhere between eight to 10 deliveries a day in their company car.
Customers can shop in person at the Brooklyn Park storefront, 3011 85th Ave. N., or online at globalgrocerymarket.com. Customers can choose from in-store pick-up, curbside pick-up, delivery, or shipping.
“A lot of times our customers are out as far as 40 miles, so they’re expecting delivery within that two-hour timeframe,” said Xiong.
Within two weeks of opening its doors, Global Grocery Market participated in a project that impacted many people and spoke to its mission.
“We were able to help out Ramsey County with culturally specific food and have it delivered to low-income families,” said Xiong. “We delivered about a little bit over 200 deliveries in a two-week timeframe.
“Our goal is really to provide culturally diverse foods to our community and just make it as accessible as possible. If you’re ever needing the service, we’re here to help.”
The couple hopes to grow in the future by expanding their storage space for groceries and hiring more delivery drivers.
“We’re hoping to be able to operate at a supermarket level,” said Xiong. “We want to provide more groceries, more products, and continue to provide our service.”
How to order from Global Grocery Market:
- Customers can shop in person at the storefront located at 3011 85th Ave. N., Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, or order online at globalgrocerymarket.com.
- Customers can choose from delivery, shipping, or free in-store pick-up and curbside pick-up.
- There is no minimum purchase amount for delivery or pickup.
- Deliveries will be made within two hours for same-day orders placed before 5 p.m., or at specific times selected by a customer.
- Fees ranging from $6.99 to $12.99 are charged for deliveries within 15 to more than 30 miles from the storefront.
- Deliveries are free for orders over $99 within a 30-mile radius of the storefront.
- Global Grocery Market is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- For more information, contact Global Grocery Market at: 763-951-2015 or email@example.com.