The African and Caribbean Mooshfood Supermarket in Barrie was born out of solidarity.
It all started when Moosh Wale and his wife, Grace, saw an opportunity through their boring experience of having to travel to Toronto to buy African goods.
“We had to travel long miles to get everything and we also plan to buy everything in bulk,” says Grace. BarrieToday.
It was then that the couple decided to put aside an online clothing business and focus on their food store idea.
“We found ourselves in the food business, trying to save other people a long journey and helping bring more Africans into our community,” she says.
Grace says she has customers who tell her they eventually moved to Barrie because of the Mooshfood supermarket, which is located near Anne and Dunlop streets.
“As soon as I set foot in Barrie, I instantly fell in love (and wanted) to live here with my family. But I soon realized that I couldn’t find my food at home, without which I couldn’t live,” she said.
Wales started selling African food online in 2015.
“I posted the articles on social media to see if it was a good idea and, yes, within an hour I received five messages,” she says. “And in that first month, I found myself going to Toronto to buy other people and sell it in Barrie.
After a while, Grace figured out how to get the products directly from the suppliers, and the demand for the specialties has only increased since then, she says.
Customers visiting the Mooshfood supermarket will find a variety of Afro-Caribbean food products including fufu, cassava, crayfish, palm oil, bobolo, bush chili, jerk seasoning, freshly frozen coconut water, Jamaican patties, etc. Hard chicken, garri, fufu and goat meat are the most popular.
Prepared dishes, such as jollof rice, pepper soup with goat meat, grilled fish, fried rice and egusi soup with pounded yam or fufu, are also available for pre-order. .
Grace says she initially struggled to find suppliers, but now salespeople are calling her direct as sales increase. Yet, she says, most African items are imported.
Importantly, she points out that the local grocery store also plays an important role in helping expats move to Barrie, providing advice on jobs, homes and business opportunities.
“We see posts on Instagram from people trying to move to Barrie and we want to help them out,” says Grace, who appreciates her store’s family-friendly approach to customers.
African and Caribbean customers make up the largest proportion of repeat visitors, but Grace notes there’s growing interest from other demographics in specialty items like suya spice, pepper soup spice and agege bread. .
With no family ties to Canada, Grace supports the idea that a warm and friendly environment trumps homesickness.
“Home is where a person lives and feels happy, no matter where they come from,” she says. “So the good community, neighbors and friends become their bonds.”
As for the taste of home, she says expats somehow find a way around it, and she’ll be there for them.
“I would say immigrants don’t miss anything about the taste of their food in Canada, but it’s not always farm-fresh like it is back home because of the distance,” she says. “Sometimes it comes frozen or sun-dried.”
The Mooshfood Supermarket is located at 285 Dunlop Street West, Unit 4.