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Old 02-28-2013, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Upper East Side of Texas
12,521 posts, read 23,045,361 times
Reputation: 4890

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Philippines native to open Asian food mart
BY CASEY MURPHY
cmurphy@tylerpaper.com



Since coming to Tyler a decade ago, Ramil Cleofe not only misses his friends and family in his native Philippines. He misses the food.

Cleofe, along with Ramon Navarro and Esusana Igaya, plans to open a new business here that could help change that.


They hope to open Kabayan Asian Food Mart in March. The store will offer Asian-inspired noodles, spices, fresh vegetables and produce “that you will not see in the supermarkets here,” Cleofe said.

They also will have fresh seafood delivered once a week, Navarro added.

“We saw the need for one,” Cleofe said of why they decided to open an Asian grocery in Tyler.

Navarro agreed.

“There’s a growing population of Asians here, not only in Tyler, but all of East Texas,” he said.

Cleofe, 45, and Navarro, 60, met in Tyler while working together in a lab as medical technologists, running tests requested by doctors. Both men grew up in the Philippines.

Navarro immigrated to New York in 1991 and moved to Beaumont for a brief time before coming to Tyler in 1994. He has worked as a medical technologist since then and he and his wife of 24 years, Nina, have two sons.

“I had a better opportunity to work in my profession here,” he said of why he moved to Tyler.

Cleofe was a doctor in the Philippines before he moved to Tyler in 2003, and he has worked in the lab since moving here. He said he moved to Tyler because his wife of 16 years, Daisy, convinced him to move to the United States for their son and daughter.

Ms. Igaya works for The University of Texas at Tyler and is a mutual friend.

The three partners are all keeping their jobs and will take turns manning the store. They hope to grow the business enough to need to hire employees, Navarro said.

“We’re very optimistic,” he said. “It will be successful.”

Navarro said Cleofe came up with the vision for the business last year because of the growing Asian population, and they have been looking for a good location.

“It’s close to everyone,” Cleofe said of why they chose the 914-square-foot space in Woodcreek Village center. “It’s accessible, too.”

Construction of the space is well under way, and the partners plan to open the store next month, although they don’t have a specific date.

Navarro said they are not only targeting Asian customers, but welcome everyone.

“Hopefully the people will come and try us,” Cleofe said.

Kabayan means countryman or fellowman in Filipino, so the men chose the name to be patriotic, Cleofe said.

Navarro said many of their friends have been impatiently asking when they will open. “They’ve been more excited than us,” he said.

Kabayan Asian Food Mart, at 6004 S. Broadway Ave., will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sunday.

http://www.tylerpaper.com/article/20...NESS/130229918
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:23 PM
 
1,446 posts, read 1,836,861 times
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that is soooo awesome!
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
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Fantastic! I love Asian food and cook it often, and have been driving to KoMart in Dallas several times a year to stock up. So I am really looking forward to checking this out.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Upper East Side of Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Fantastic! I love Asian food and cook it often, and have been driving to KoMart in Dallas several times a year to stock up. So I am really looking forward to checking this out.
Why KoMart, are you Korean?

Tyler has had an Asian Market for awhile. We have 2 to choose from now.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
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Originally Posted by Metro Matt View Post
Why KoMart, are you Korean?

Tyler has had an Asian Market for awhile. We have 2 to choose from now.
No, I am not Korean, though I do have a Korean daughter in law, a Korean brother, and a Korean grandson! (Three different families - the brother and grandson are adopted.)

KoMart is HUGE and has the widest variety of Asian foods and produce (not just Korean) that I've found within a three hour drive. Also, Shreveport has some excellent Asian markets. I've been to the older one in Tyler and am looking forward to visiting the new one. The older one is nice, but their products are somewhat limited. Hopefully this new one will be larger.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:11 PM
 
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does anybody know when the store is finally opening? i've been visiting the store and they're just putting stuff up on the shelves as of yesterday, not completely ready for an opening yet. im getting impatient. though i do have to say, though im excited to have the filipino store here as im filipino myself, i'd be more excited if it were a korean store.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:11 AM
 
1,064 posts, read 1,567,417 times
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Nac-Town has papa wadys that open two months ago and it's doing very well gotta love asian everything!!
They have one in Dallas and Funky-Town and now Nacogdoches,I really don't know why they skip Tyler seeing that it is 90 miles away and the best place in the world lmao!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Upper East Side of Texas
12,521 posts, read 23,045,361 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zilam98 View Post
does anybody know when the store is finally opening? i've been visiting the store and they're just putting stuff up on the shelves as of yesterday, not completely ready for an opening yet. im getting impatient. though i do have to say, though im excited to have the filipino store here as im filipino myself, i'd be more excited if it were a korean store.
Its opening today.

We don't have enough Koreans in Tyler or East Texas to support a Korean only market, we do have enough Filipino's.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:06 PM
 
1,446 posts, read 1,836,861 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metro Matt View Post
Its opening today.

We don't have enough Koreans in Tyler or East Texas to support a Korean only market, we do have enough Filipino's.
i know. too bad koreans dont work so much in healthcare or they would've come here in droves. i'd have to settle for dallas, houston or austin
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,324 posts, read 35,852,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zilam98 View Post
i know. too bad koreans dont work so much in healthcare or they would've come here in droves. i'd have to settle for dallas, houston or austin

Just for your info - Shreveport has SEVERAL Korean groceries. Loving Korean cuisine as I do, I go there pretty often to stock up.
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