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'When you have a taste of home, it becomes like home': Caribbean grocery store to open in Dartmouth


There's growing excitement among people of Caribbean descent in the Maritimes with the upcoming opening of what's believed to be the region's first dedicated Caribbean grocery store.

It's been a year-long project for 31-year-old Shawn Montique, a former Nova Scotia Community College student originally from Land Settlement, Jamaica.

After coming to Halifax for school, Montique worked in a bank for a year before heading to Toronto, where he discovered a vibrant business community and made some valuable contacts.

He also came to realize demand for products from the Caribbean are only growing around here.

"There is a big migration thing," Montique told CTV News. "More people from Jamaica and the Caribbean are choosing Nova Scotia as a place to live, work and stay."

Although the retail location in the 200 block of Portland Street remains a work in-progress, demand has been strong enough for a soft opening and some early sales, including delivery.

When it opens for good, the store will be named after Shawn's Grandmother, Gloria, a storekeeper herself.

"She passed away and I decided to dedicate this business to her," Montique says.

The store will be known as Gloria’s International Grocery Store, believed to be the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada.

With word starting to get out, customers like Anna Heslop are stopping-by, excited to find authentic Jamaican buns and cheese in time for the upcoming holiday.

"When you have a taste of home, it becomes like home," she said. "I will always be here."

There also seems to be excitement among the growing number of Caribbean eating establishments in the region, who say sourcing ingredients is always a challenge.

"Sometimes, we can't get it," said Kemer Brown, the manager of Jamaican Vibes in Halifax. "When we go out to Superstore or Walmart, there's nothing for Jamaicans there."

With immigration driving the Maritime population to new heights, more and more specialty stores are popping-up to cater to the new arrivals – something officials say is good for everyone.

"We hope that, by them establishing businesses, employing other people in the community, that this will really strengthen their desire to stay here, which will be to the benefit of everyone," said Jennifer Watts, the CEO of Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS).

Gloria’s International Grocery Store is slated to open on May 7.

A labour of love for the man behind it, and a taste of home for a growing number of Maritimers who can't wait. Top Stories

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