EAST LANSING, Mich. — Oriental Mart in East Lansing is now Fresh International Market.
"We added a food court," said owner Bowen Kou. "We have a good variety. We have noodles. We have sushi. We have hot pots. We have a lovely dining area next to the food court for customers. We also have a juice bar and our bakery. We have added bigger seafood and a meat department, too."
Though the remodel started in March, the store closed in October to expand into the former karaoke and pool bar next door. The former Oriental Mart in East Lansing was Bowen’s first store, which he bought in 2012. He kept the name until now.
“A few years later, I opened more stores. I have my own branding, so I feel like our new name will be focused with what we do: Bring the fresh produce, bring the fresh international flavor to the town—not only oriental food.”
Bowen now has six stores in Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina and Michigan. With this revamp, Bowen says he and his team are trying to serve the local community better.
The number of students from China studying at Michigan State University has declined in recent years from nearly 4,800 in the fall of 2015 to just over 2,400 this past fall. The number of students from Korea and Taiwan has fallen, as well.
Bowen said he's had to adapt, to target a broader demographic.
"We have produce, meat—just like other grocery stores," Bowen explained.
For those unfamiliar with Asian cuisine or how to prepare it, Fresh International Market will offer recipes and instructions over social media.
"I graduated from Michigan State; I always consider this my hometown," Bowed added. "That’s why I put a lot of thought and energy to this…I welcome everyone to check in after our grand opening. Our soft opening will be Jan. 29, but our grand opening will be mid-February."
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