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Roshein Shaw had the vision to open the first West Indian grocery store when she moved into the area and couldn't find scotch bonnet peppers at her local retail stores.
Most residents of the Durham Region claim they drive to Scarborough or further just to get the ethnic things we need in our daily lives.
"Whether if it is Shoppers Drug Mart or a larger grocery store, I never seem to be able to find the products that our culture needs for our day-to-day routines," Roshein explained
It took some time to prepare the establishment before the grand opening in October 2021, but now we finally have an authentic grocery store for the black culture that is located on the east side of Toronto.
The Little West Indies has a grocery store, hair and beauty boutique, & takeout kitchen and juice bar, all located under one roof.
One of the major focuses of their business is to give other local vendors Black, Indigenous, and people of color the opportunity to sell their products through their online or retail store.
In this grocery store, you can find everything from meat to seafood or sugar cane to the tropical treats and spices we all love but lack to find in the larger retail shops we may decide to shop from once in a while.
Not to mention, the takeout kitchen also serves great tasting dishes for us to enjoy like jerk chicken, curry goat, patties, roti, porridge, and even seafood!
"The community has been so supportive of the new business venture that we had to extend our hours to accommodate the demand on some days," Roshein explained.
Her brother Ricardo Simpson is also proud to join his sister as they seek to continue the linage of entrepreneurship throughout their family history.
Their family has owned and operated businesses successfully for more than 30 years in the Caribbean and Canada.
Now that they have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams, this family duo is committed to the journey and excited for all the new opportunities this ethnic supermarket has planned for the community.
"My parents often tell the story of starting their first shop selling bagged flour and sugar, tomato and callaloo that was grown in my father's garden, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. This small "try something" venture grew to be a community staple," as stated on The Little West Indies website.
Instead of waiting for someone else to make their vision happen, these siblings decided to take the initiative to start their first business together.
You can now visit The Little West Indies to shop for your groceries or pick up a hot meal that is made promptly in the takeout kitchen.
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