HOLE IN THE WALL GREATNESS
by Adam Vicinus
If your vision of an Indian Convenience Store is Apu’s Quickie Mart from the Simpsons, where Bart buys his Slushies and Homer stuffs his face with rancid hotdogs, than the Shop n Go Indian Food Market defies the stereotype. The Shop n Go, located at 365 South and 900 East sits next to The Bagelry and has been in this same locale since 1994. As you approach the store, the old 7-11 facade looks strangely familiar.
Once inside, it’s like you’ve stepped back in time to the days of old Calcutta where merchants once traded with the local shop keepers. Fresh fruits and produce line the walls; aisles and the shelves are piled high with spices, sauces and bags of rice. There’s a display case on the checkout counter, and behind the glass are what my Indian friend Sagar calls “the best Samosas in SLC.” Samosas are a potato and pea filled Indian pastry- ahh, golden flaky pockets of goodness!
The Shop N Go is run by Sukhvinder Parmar. Growing up in Punjabi, he graduated with a double major in International Politics and Education. Sukhvinder moved his family to Utah in 1994 and set his sights on opening the Shop n Go Indian Food Market. “We worked very hard from 5 in the morning until 12 at night, but we did what we had to do” explained Sukhvinder. He knew that the only way to take care of his family was to work hard. And it paid off. “In 2008 I opened another Indian convenience store in Sandy called the Cash and Carry and its run by my son and daughter,” he said, “and its a good thing we did” he continued, “we lost our lease, and at the end of next month we’re moving to the new location.” What? Moving? Why and where?
Apparently, his lease doesn’t allow for him to continue operating if the business next door, The Bagelry goes under. The property owners terminated the remainder of his lease, and have instead agreed to let Intermountain Health Care expand and build a multi-level clinic. Next month, if he can get the city to approve all the permits he needs, he’ll start moving everything over to the new location at 573 East 300 South. My question is, will he keep selling the Samosas? “You know I import them from Punjabi,” he said, “they ship them frozen and I cook them here.” So, now the secret is out- authentic samosas from Punjabi, curry paste, spices, basmati rice, fresh fruits and vegetables and, of course, phone cards, beer and cigarettes.
As I stood there, taking in the smells of the warm samosas, I thought of Bart and Homer at Apu’s Quickie Mart, wishing they could be so lucky. Sukhvinder’s son comes in and gives his Dad a hug and a kiss on the check. I can see in his eyes that the hard work has paid off and soon he may be able to relax and enjoy a less hectic day and more time off with his family. In the meantime, I’m off with my warm bag of Samosas. Lets hope the new location is just as successful. §