Roanoke, Va. (WFXR) — A new Roanoke business, Roanoke Grocery Mart has opened its doors on Melrose Avenue. The Roanoke Grocery Mart has exclusive products from all over the globe and the owner says they’re committed to giving back to the community in a myriad of ways.
“It’s my goal, ever since I was a little child. I wanted to work with my communities, I really wanted to give back to the community.”Hisham Alammuri, Owner and General Manager, Roanoke Grocery Market
A plan two years in the making. After extensive renovations, Hisham Alammuri’s Roanoke Grocery Market is open to the public and it seems he’s already in the process of giving back to his community. It all started with Hisham’s move to Roanoke nearly four years ago… he discovered something was missing.
“I noticed that we have a large part of the community that came from different parts of the middle East, Europe, Asia and other parts of the world and there is nothing that represents who they are and the kind of food that they need.”Hisham Alammuri, Owner and General Manager, Roanoke Grocery Market
Hisham wants to provide that representation. He says locals would travel hours to get specialty food items that he now carries; spices, beans, sweets, and more.
“We have eleven-hundred items or more at the store. They can find the fresh meat that they used to travel to other cities to get, bread that they also used to travel to get from different parts of Virginia, and now we bake it here and they can find it basically on a daily basis.”Hisham Alammuri, Owner and General Manager, Roanoke Grocery Market
In addition to offering global, health centric foods. Hisham says he is committed to advocating for autism; 5% of monthly or annual store proceeds will go to autism research. The store will also be an autism friendly employer. The store will designate thirty to forty-five hours per week to providing employment opportunity for those in the autistic community.
“I have many friends that have autistic kids, I have a nephew who is autistic and I think they need to be more integrated within our community.”Hisham Alammuri, Owner and General Manager, Roanoke Grocery Market
Then there’s the ottoman basket, a middle-eastern tradition.
“The Ottoman Basket is for people who can afford to buy more than they need. If they come to buy three or four bread or bags of bread they can also buy a fifth one and leave it for the needy.”Hisham Alammuri, Owner and General Manager, Roanoke Grocery Market
Hisham says businesses can be started anywhere but it’s about connecting with the community in which you live.