AMHERST — Akshaya Pawar found a package of turmeric on opening day for a new foreign grocery shop in North Amherst’s Mill District, and she made a huge profit.
Pawar looked over the packet containing full bits of turmeric and commented, “This was an unexpected find. For usage in Hindu religious rituals, she stated that she might boil the turmeric in milk or water.
Pawar, who also purchased a box of almond cake rusks, expressed her delight at the introduction of Big Basket Market and expressed gratitude that she wouldn’t have to travel far for Indian food by shopping there rather than at Springfield or other urban locations.
An Amherst family with Sri Lankan ancestry is operating the shop at 19 Montague Road, which was formerly occupied by Captain Video before it closed in 2015. This location is in the Riverside Park shopping centre.
Khaalid Rizwan describes what the store will provide as “a little bit of everything,” based on preparations made over the previous year. The more traditional Triangle Street convenience store Amherst Market is co-owned by his father, Riswan Raufdeen.
Rizwan claimed the family succeeded in opening in the weeks before the start of the new academic year, with hopes that COVID-19 is starting to wane and an increase in the number of international students who are still enrolled at the University of Massachusetts. We want to be a hub for international students and offer a variety of cuisines, added Rizwan.
With spices, rice, noodles, and beans all being offered in quantity, there is also anticipation that Big Basket Market will offer a wider variety of goods and more affordable rates than its customers may be used to. Because they are, after all, college students, Rizwan remarked, “for college kids we want to have a good price.”
The store’s primary sign describes what is available inside, mentioning that it provides Indian, Arabic, and Asian food as well as all kinds of international groceries and Halal-certified food. It also lists all other types of commodities. According to Rizwan, many of the goodies, such as Khari cookies, sweet Arabic dates, and a pani puri kit to make fully puffed puris with chutney and pani puri concentration, might not be available locally.
Customers started perusing the shelves and freezers, which are still empty, shortly after the store opened at 8 a.m. But the family will listen to suggestions. When a consumer asked Rizwan about a certain item, he responded, “Let us know what you need and we’ll order it for you.”
As of now, one aisle is stocked mostly with Indian foods, such as spices, instant mixes, curry powder, masala, and turmeric powder, while another aisle’s shelves are stocked mostly with South Korean foods, such as tea powder, Korean barbecue sauce short rib, seaweed, spicy noodles, soy sauce, chili oil with soybean, and share dried rice noodle.
Additionally, the store offers typical American snacks and pastries, macaroni and cheese boxes, jars of peanut butter, and packed goods in the freezers and refrigerators. Shampoos and soaps are available on other shelves along with other needs.
In addition to being open until 9:30 p.m. every day, Big Basket Market will also provide home deliveries on Sundays when it closes at 8 p.m.
Cinda Jones, president of W.D. Cowls, who is in charge of the Mill District’s business operations, explained that embracing the global market is a part of the idea of curating a variety of retail establishments for the area, which is home to both substantial apartment buildings and single-family homes.