Havelock Oriental Mart

(excerpt from an older blog related to our family’s business)
Thursday, April 24, 2008 

Havelock Oriental Mart is saying goodbye after 26 years!!

Dear all,

This weekend will be a sad, sad, sad time for our family and for all of the kids that we grew up with (you know who you are I’m sure…..). After 26 years in business, my mother has decided to retire and close up shop. She has spent the better part of the last 26 years maintaining a safe place for us kids to go to after school, feeding us all the seaweed snacks we could eat, teaching us how to run the cash register, letting us play in the rain in the East Plaza parking lot, letting us play store and use the pricing gun, letting us lay out on all the freezers, and did I already say eat all the food and drink all the Sarsi we wanted?? You are forgetting some serious childhood memories if you don’t remember sleeping underneath the shelves or behind the freezers, piling Ligo cans as high as you could, or playing with all the stick brooms…We have spent many an afternoon hanging out in front of the store, our sad little radio blaring, joking around w/ each other for hours on end. Mostly because we weren’t allowed to go anywhere….but also because there was nowhere to go. If you are Filipino or Asian and grew up in Havelock there is no way you can say you never came there to hang out w/ us Basco sisters or at least for some botan rice candy and ice pops.

The town has definitely grown, not very big…but definitely bigger than it was when the store first opened in 1982. Now Asian Foods are more mainstream then they were 26 years ago…when my parents thought they were doing a service to the community. The commissary, Wal Mart, and even Food Lion now carry Americanized versions of the more common foods we are always looking for. Over time, many asian grocery shops have come and gone in Havelock–We are proud to say our mother’s has lasted the longest. Now that she is closing her doors, we will share her secret…remember it and pass it along….it’s just like Mr. Magoriums Magic Emporium….it’s her own special recipe for magic: she built the store around us girls. Every day, she regrouped her priorities as a business woman and put being a mother first..always and without fail. She worked hard, even when my father was overseas for what felt like forever, and balanced it all perfectly…and always put us girls first…and as you know….our friends/ adopted cousins 🙂 right there with us. She made her silly jokes, sang her funny songs, and all in all, made the store our HOME. While her friends and others in the community used their resources for bigger houses and nicer cars, my mother put all her resources right back into the three of us and our store. She is the only woman I know who made “stay at home mom” and “working mom” mean the same exact thing. She is our biggest hero…and the life she has spent working for her family and the community is more valuable than anything we know.

The Havelock Oriental Mart has a life of it’s own….and the three of us feel a deep loss in our hearts to say goodbye to this place….even to the crappy building it’s been in for all these years. Ha ha ha ha…you all know it’s crappy…. But in our sadness we thought today of all the lives besides ours that the store has touched over the years, all the little kids that it’s shelves and walls have seen grow up, and wanted to make sure all of you knew and had your own chance to say goodbye 🙂 Without fanfare, we will officially be closed by Tuesday, April 29th. We hope you will stop by for a visit and thanks for all your support over the years.

Peace.

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