One of our last stops was at the Indochinese Grocery Store. When we walked in, we were greeted by the pungent smell of dried foods and tea. They sell a wide variety of things, from incense to tea to toothpick holders.
The woman who works at the store is Va Xiong. Her husband’s name is Xai Xiong and their daughter owns the store. They have a little kitchen where they sell food. A lot of different kinds of people come to the store, mostly Hmong people. They sell pots, plates, spoons, forks, knives, rice machines, baskets, foods, fruits, drinks, toys, spirit money, sauces, desserts, jewelry, etc.... Down in the basement there were many cloths [fabrics] from many kinds of different Asian cultures. There was Hmong Chinese cloth, Laos cloth, Thailand cloth, Vietnamese cloth, Cambodian cloth, and American cloth. There were a lot of Laos blouses hanging from hangers. The blouses were many colors. There were traditional Hmong hats and clothing.... On the top floor, they sell Hmong videos. A lot of the movies have only people chanting to each other. On a lot of Hmong movies they have the title printed in Hmong letters with English subtitles.
Va Xiong showed us around the grocery store. There were noodles, chickens, fish sauce, fish, spices, rice, incense, Chinese candy and toys and more.... They have their own lunch restaurant with egg rolls, noodles and rice.... Va Xiong is a seamstress who makes Chinese and Hmong clothes. Her workspace is downstairs in a big room with lots of fabric, clothes, shoes and accessories. The fabrics were in bright pink, green, yellow, red, blue, and black bolts.
Upstairs was everything from ginger to soap, toothpick holders, incense and more. There were things from ALL OVER the world! In the corner was a very small lunch bar/deli, and there was also a display of Hmong artifacts. Some were hand-sewn decorations, a Hmong ball made for tossing, purses, and little metal trinkets shaped like elephants and other animals. Downstairs, there were yards of cloth, all with hand-stitched designs. There was also traditional hand-embroidered clothing. Va gets these from Asia when she goes once or twice a year. She sells them [here] to the Hmong. Va also sells a lot of American dresses, shirts, and skirts.
One shirt and pants combo might cost $160.00