Om Market Opens
The Om Market, a small Indian grocery, opened in April in the library space. Its owners are Vipin and Surekha Patel, who also own the Wine Seller, which is also taking over some of the library space to increase its size from 1,400 to 3,000 square feet. Though the entrances are around a corner of the mall from each other, the two stores actually connect behind the tiny Domino's pizza franchise carved out in between. The Patels plan to run the grocery, while sons Hardik, twenty-two, and Swetang, twenty-five, handle the wine store. But those plans were disrupted when Vipin's mother died, leaving Swetang and Hardik to temporarily run both businesses while the senior Patels traveled to India.
Hardik, covering the register of the Om Market, admits he doesn't really know much about groceries but points out that "almost everything we sell, my Mom uses. She cooks Indian food three or four nights a week." There's an aisle devoted to spices, another to flour, and another to dal (a term that refers to both a signature group of Indian dishes and the lentils and beans from which they're made). There's still an unused space in the back which may become either a small produce market or a restaurant.
Hardik says the family came here when he was three from Gujarat. His father, an engineer at Ford, was laid off five years ago and bought the Wine Seller, which has indirectly benefited from Pfizer's departure, Hardik says. "Our sales went down ten to fifteen percent when Pfizer moved out, but then [Bello Vino] went out of business, so we're filtering some of their customers, and that's what's making us expand. There's no other wine shop on this side of town."