Ethnic superstore opens

Yousuf Bokhary, owner of India Market, in the store in Orange.

Yousuf Bokhary, owner of India Market, in the store in Orange.

An ethnic superstore with an emphasis on products of India, East and West Africa, South America, the Far East and the Mediterranean opened last week in the former Staples location at 100 Boston Post Road.

Farmer’s India Market — believed to be the first ethic store in southern Connecticut with so many products under one roof — has 25,000 square feet of space, not including storage areas.

The superstore seems to have any kind of rice, pita, kabob or Indian produce known to man and also a Halal meat department with products that won’t be found in any mainstream supermarket, such as lamb’s feet, cow feet and beef tripe.

“I think it’s a very diverse community here,” said one of the market owners, Yousuf Bokhary, of why he decided to open in Orange with no other ties to the community.

He arrived at the location through market research and it happens to be a stone’s throw from New Haven Islamic Center; the center’s shopping center tenants include the popular Orange Farmers’ Market, which mainly carries produce and a Halal market. It is also across the street in the other direction from a small, more traditional ethnic grocery specializing in foods of India.

Bokhary said he’s going for the market in the New Haven and Bridgeport areas and as far north as Hartford.

Bokhary is a veteran of the mega ethnic store, as he owns two such stores in Boston — one even bigger than his new store in Orange at about 45,000 square feet — and he said they are quite successful. He hopes to expand with more stores in the future.

Bokhary, who said he runs the stores with his wife, nephews and extended family, first went into the business 30 years ago, beginning with a 400-square-foot market at age 27.

The Boston-area resident originally from India, who also now has a residence in the Orange area, said his dad was a businessman — although it wasn’t food — “so it’s in my blood.”

He said the market for products from India is satiated, but his store is different because he buys in bulk to keep prices down and has everything under one roof.

He said being in the ethnic food business is good for “self-esteem.”

“It’s satisfying making people happy and putting a smile on their face,” Bokhary said.