Bhutanese group opens more than just a corner store
Helping host Himalayas General Store's open house Sunday at 359 Elm St., Manchester, are, from left, director Tika Acharya; Radhika Acharya, co-owner; Narapati Poudyal, co-owner; Kamala Bhattrai, staff at the store; Pabi Khatri, co-owner; staff member Rohit Subedi, and manager Surya Thapa. (MARK BOLTON/UNION LEADER)
But the refugee-entrepreneurs behind the venture went beyond gathering an inventory and opening a corner store.
"I have seen they have a challenge, certain things that they have to go down to Boston and down to New York to get, and some they had to ask their relatives to send from New Delhi and from Katmandu, Nepal, Acharya said. "I was trying to do research, I spoke with many of the customers before we opened up, people from African countries, from the Middle East and some of the items they were looking for they didn't have in the area."
The store drew a continuous stream of visitors during its grand opening Sunday. The formal opening included prayers chanted by a Hindu priest asking for success for the new venture.
"It's an honor to be here," she said. "This is a long process, we have finally made it. It is not just our store, or a Nepalese store, it is the Store For You, for people from diverse communities around the world."
Opening a general store was not the first thought the entrepreneurs had, said co-owner Pabi Khatri
"It is very important that a store actually reflects the culture, the tradition, and the values I think it is very important to have in our community," Subedi said. "It is the baseline; it is based on the ethical behavior that has been inherited from our forefathers. It reflects our religion, it reflects our tradition, it reflects our customs."
"I'm here because what I need is here," she said.
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