There’s no need to travel the world for exotic, foreign foods anymore. Not when you can find them in one location in St. Catharines.
A month ago, international flavour came to Ontario Street when Ebeano Supermarket held its grand opening in what most here call the Value Village Plaza.
Spread over two units at 358 and 360 Ontario Street (right next door to Value Village), there are literally foods, spices, sauces, fruits and vegetable from Asia, Europe, Africa and South America up and down the aisle, giving the Garden City a trans-global selection like nowhere else in Niagara.
Among the grand opening visitors on December 3 was St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle, who raved at the selection in the grocery store run by Peters Andokari Ityohuna and his team.
Citing the 25 new jobs, nearly all full-time, created by the store, Bittle marveled, “A truly global market where foods from around the world can be found. It was exciting to see so many happy faces shopping this afternoon for products that may be difficult to find elsewhere.”
According to the company’s website, the international chain started up in Nigeria and the word “ebeano” is Nigerian slang for “where things are happening.”
Peters Andokari Ityohuna began his young life as a cashier in one of Ebeano’s first stores in Nigeria. The website continues, “From there he quickly grew to understand the grocery business and helped in developing more stores until he finally reached the position of General Manager.”
“In 2014, Peters made a life changing decision to immigrate to Canada and he, like many others who are newly immigrated, had difficulty finding the comforts of home in this new country.”
Shortly, he was joined by Chukwuma David Ojei, an old overseas friend and co-founder of the original Ebeano Supermarkets in Nigeria, who came to Canada for a visit. Before long, the pair created the concept for a Canadian version of Ebeano, often called Prince Ebeano in Africa.
“By offering a variety of products from around the globe, they created the first Global Food Market. From there the idea took hold and the next two years were spent finding the right location and preparing for the launch (in St. Catharines).”
The anticipation by local residents was strong. “It is a cosmopolitan addition to our Niagara landscape,” said one. Added another: “I look forward visiting soon. Love the diversity in our community.”
Those who have been need no convincing. “This is hands down the best place to shop for African groceries in this region. Staff are up and doing, friendly and helpful, store is clean and well stocked. Awesome experience will keep coming back here. Don’t rest on your oars, hopefully you’ll add online shopping and delivery to your store soon.”
Ebeano Supermarket is located at 358, 360 Ontario St Unit 3 and 4 in St. Catharines.