10 Questions with the Owner of Little India Markets Grocery Store

By Ashley Flerlage

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1. What is your name and position?

Shrinivasa Lottala, owner

2. Why did you open Little India Markets (formerly Spices ‘N Grains)?

Spices ‘N Grains opened December 17, 2012. I opened the store because the Indian community in St. Charles and St. Peters is growing so we wanted to serve the Indian groups in our community.

3. What are your daily responsibilities at Little India Markets?

To make sure the items are in stock and that we are restocking and ordering items from vendors and making the customer happy. At the end of the day, if the customer is not satisfied we aren’t in business, so that is our top priority.

4. Is Little India Markets family run?

Yes. No family members work there, but it is family owned.

5. What sets Little India Markets apart from other grocery stores?

It sells more stuff to the Indian community. We get lots of spices compared to Schnucks or Dierbergs. Some of our products you won’t find at other grocery stores, but you will find here. We also sell fresh Indian vegetables. We get very fresh foods. If you go to Schnucks you won’t find things as cheap as we sell them. We sell things for $.99/lb that might be $2.99/lb at Schnucks.

6. How would you describe traditional Indian food to someone who has never had it?

It has lots of spices, but since lots of Indians are living in American communities, some have stopped liking spicy foods. Everything is global now so people want to try new things all the time. Sometimes we even help people make recipes.

7. Does Little India Markets sell non-grocery items as well?

Yes. We sell brooms for cleaning and sweeping, and we sell a lot of oils. We sell a lot of henna oil which is a kind of leaves used to decorate the hands for weddings and other things like grey hairs. It shows like a darkish red or black color. You mix it with water and then put it on your hands.

8. What are a few of your best selling items?

We sell a lot of spices, Indian snacks, Indian bread, wheat flours, Indian vegetables. We really sell a lot of fresh guava. We sells lots of green mangoes  okra, and leafy vegetables.

9. Would you recommend Little India Markets to someone who is not Indian?

Yes, definitely. We get lots of American customers and European customers. We get customers from Britain, Germany, and African countries. Sometimes we have a bigger American crowd than Indian crowd.

10. What is your favorite part about running Little India Markets?

Basically, I want to serve to community and also get closer to the community.