There's nothing like the taste of something familiar from your childhood — and one newcomer is hoping to bring that comfort to others with her new Indian grocery store in Charlottetown — the Spice Store.
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The number of people moving to P.E.I. from India is growing and Ramila Agrawal hopes the familiar flavours at her business will make it easier for people in their new home.
"If your stomach is full you can face the world better," said Agrawal, who moved from Dubia about a year ago with her family.
"Once they have that great food in them as they're used to, I think they can face the prospect of living in a new place, mingling with the community, the new job, the new environment. And I think it makes the settling down process so much more comfortable."
Hard time finding familiar food
With her new store on St. Peters Road, she's catering to the many different tastes of the diverse Indian community. People arriving are from many different regions of the country.
"We met a few Indian families, who have been here on the Island for let us say five years, six years and we also met some families who have been here over 15, 16 years, but all of them had the same story to say that Indian products are not so easy to get to here and there is no store that does it like in a full range."
Her family moved here as part of the Provincial Nominee Program where newcomers are to start or take over businesses. She hopes providing traditional ingredients for cooking will encourage others to stay on PEI.
"We want the Indian community to like staying in Charlottetown. I don't want them and we don't want them to say that 'oh it's OK for sometime, and then let's go on to a bigger city where everything is available.'"
Encouraging newcomers to stay
"For food I don't think anybody should move from a place because this place is so beautiful. I would love to live here and I am going to live here for many many years," Agrawal said.
"I hope everybody enjoys having their own special place in a new town, in a new country and they're comfortable in Charlottetown … and not want to go from here."
She also hopes to share Indian culture with Islanders and answer questions about the flavours and cooking. So far, she's hired two employees and hopes to hire more. Agrawal is looking forward to feedback about what people want to see in the store and says she's already gotten positive feedback from the community.
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