Refugee Owned Market Exposes Baltimore to South Asian Food and Culture
On June 6th, 2012, two friends Ramesh Magar and Bishnu Rana embarked on a venture that arose from their experiences both in business and as refugees. That venture is Druk, a grocery store on the corner of Conkling and Bank Streets in Highlandtown. As Baltimore is quickly gaining a reputation for being welcoming to immigrants, Druk is perfectly situated to suit the needs of the growing multi-ethnic community. The store specializes in South Asian groceries and stocks a variety of products, ranging from traditional Nepali Dhaka Tapi hats to basic fruits and vegetables. However, it is not the items for sale that makes Druk unique; it is the vision of the two owners.
Ramesh came to the US as a Bhutanese refugee from a camp in Nepal with hopes of using his business experience in his new home. He was resettled in Baltimore by the International Rescue Committee, located less than a block from where he and Bishnu opened Druk. When asked what he envisioned for Druk, Ramesh responded that he and Bishnu wanted to educate the community about one of Baltimore’s newest populations in a unique way: through their stomachs.
Their hope is that by bringing unique and affordable products from various South Asian countries to Baltimore, people will have access to a new culture that they otherwise would not. Whether it is Nepali, Bhutanese, or Vietnamese cuisine, the two owners believe that customers will find something that excites them and motivates them not only to regularly visit the store, but to experience a new culture as well. So whether you are a regular customer, or someone looking for a different ethnic cooking experience, you will most certainly be welcomed at the Druk grocery store.