Utica ethic grocery stores cater to immigrants from many cultures

Versie Dortch

When Grace Rai, a Bhutanese refugee who grew up in Nepal, first came to the United States in 2018, she had trouble finding the food she was used to. 

She and her family finally felt at home, she said, when a woman named Muju brought them Nepalese food. 

Her husband, Uffwal, experienced similar concerns when he came to this country in 2014. 

“I was at the airport,” he recalled, “and I was so worried I would never get to eat rice.” 

Guests shop at Lucky Mey's Market located on Oneida St. in Utica.

So Grace Rai decided to do something to help all the other immigrants in Utica, founding the online Muju International Grocery Store in 2020, which uses an app developed by her husband, and opening a brick-and-mortar store on Champlin Avenue in Utica this spring. 

The store caters to all of Utica’s immigrants of recent decades with different sections for different cultures; it offers spices, packaged foods, fresh produce, fresh meat, frozen foods and more.  


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