WCCDA Narrative Series | Six
Having survived the Khmer Rouge where people didn’t have food to eat, everything seems good for us now. We own a grocery store. Our store provides food for our community. We don't really have much more to ask for!
Being the eldest in my family, I took care of my siblings and parents until they were able to settle and take care of themselves. Now I have my wife and children to care for. We are healthy and our kids are in school. They attend Denny and Sanislo and are growing up safely. Running our own store gives us the flexibility to raise our kids. We do not have to work for someone else. Though we must do everything ourselves, it is the same day in and day out, so we’ve got our routine down. My wife, Dalis does most of the cashiering and I run around, making sure we have items on the shelf to sell.
Having a wide range of Southeast Asian fruits and readymade Cambodian meals and desserts makes our store special. Consistently providing these fresh items is the most challenging part of our job. However, it means a lot for us to be able to give the taste of “home” to our community. Before we started selling fresh Asian fruits, our customers used to have to go all the way to Canada, but now, they can enjoy them without traveling far. All the ready-made meals are cooked by our mom. She is a master chef! She enjoys cooking and people love her food. It is the perfect situation. Also, people are so busy nowadays. They don't have time to cook much anymore. So, our community really appreciates being able to get some Cambodian home-cooked meals easily, especially since there are few Cambodian restaurants around.
Before Grocery Plus, we used to own an electronic store which is now the Pacific Muay Thai store in White Center. With technology constantly changing, we felt a grocery store would bring us more security and provide food for our community instead. We moved to this area after owning the store here. People used to ask us why we run a store in White Center. They see it as a scary and unsafe place. But we have always felt that White Center is a safe place. We have had a few break-in incidents, but I think that is normal. The community here is incredibly supportive. People who come to our store are like family to us. We all know and take care of each other.
We don’t really think much about the future because we work hard, and we are content in the moment. If my mother-in-law still has energy, she will continue to cook food for the community. And we will continue to provide fresh fruits and produce in the store. If there is an opportunity to do so, we would love to remodel the space to make it nicer. But for right now, we are doing all that we can. We are happy being able to do what we do.
End of Narrative