Woman wants to reopen ethnic food store as co-op
EVERETT - When the owners of the Mekong Market recently decided to close down after 31 years, Everett’s Asian and Dutch communities lost an important source for food items from their home countries.
Enter grassroots leader Kinuko Noborikawa.
Noborikawa is trying to reopen the north Everett market into an Asian food co-op and is looking for people to help her.
The market meets a niche need for the community, she said. The closest Dutch food shop, for example, is in Lynden in Whatcom County, she said.
More than 120 people have signed up for updates on the progress of her effort, she said. Noborikawa is looking for charter members, and she said Thuy-Van Duong, the wife in the husband-and-wife team that ran Mekong, is willing to help in the effort to reopen the store.
“It’s a matter of having all the pieces in place,” Noborikawa said.
The market has a loyal customer base, Noborikawa said. The store has a list of more than 100 Dutch customers alone, she said.
Customers on Yelp.com called the Mekong Market the most authentic Asian shop in Everett if not Snohomish County. The market imported goods from Vietnam, India, Thailand and other countries. Dutch and Indonesian food items were a specialty, Noborikawa said. (Indonesia was once a colony of the Netherlands.)
Everett’s cultural food shops are hidden across the city. A Ukranian and Russian food shop is tucked away on Evergreen Way and a few miles away is a Chinese-centric food shop. There are Korean food stores located near the Lynnwood border.
The Mekong Market was equally hard to find — it was at 2804 Grand Ave. behind the Sno-Isle Foods Co-op.
Noborikawa plans to keep carrying the same goods and add more food items for Pacific Islanders if she can get the effort off the ground.
She’s working on resurrecting the market because it provides something the community can’t get anywhere else, she said.
People can e-mail Kinuko Noborikawa to help with the effort. Her e-mail is MekongEverettCoop@gmail.com.
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