A new grocery store dedicated to Middle East and Mediterranean items opened last week in Winnipeg. Blady Middle Eastern is run by Issa Qandeel, a 27-year-old Palestinian immigrant who moved to Winnipeg nine years ago to study economics and accounting and wound up putting down roots in the city.
Qandeel learned the grocery business working with his father and brothers in the family store in Ramallah, in the West Bank. Blady offers some of the same items as the family store in Ramallah, but Qandeel has added a bakery and a wide selection of halal meats.
Qandeel is confident there’s strong enough demand to support his enterprise. "There's a trend in Winnipeg on Middle Eastern stuff, Middle Eastern food," he told CBC News.
Blady (the name means “my home, my town, my country, my village,” Qandeel says) imports items like spices, olives and sweets, but it also offers products made in Canada, some of them made in-store.
Qandeel is still building his offering and will continue to add new items over the next several months.