Opening Up Entrepreneurship Food+Drink Diversity
From Produce to Spices to Charms: New HmongStop Store Highlights Eau Claire Diversity
new East Clairemont shop features Hmong food, jewelry
Kelly Carlson, photos by McKenna Scherer |
Mike Moua and Youa Lor, a local married couple, saw a gap in the Eau Claire food scene and decided to take something familiar to them, to the community dinner table. On Sept. 24 HmongStop opened its doors right off of Clairemont Avenue, offering traditional Hmong foods as well as jewelry.
“(Our mission is) to provide Oriental food items that are not available at other food retail stores and to bring authentic food items to the area,” said co-owner Mike Moua. “We decided to start a new small business and so we started with something we are familiar with.”
After five months of battling inflation and delays in the supply chain, the couple finally got all the appliances and produce necessary to open doors. They remodeled the building themselves, hoping to save money while creating the store they always wanted to share delicious Oriental ingredients with the Valley. “We have rice and noodles, spices, seasonings, sauces, fruits, vegetables, frozen produce … beverages and snacks (and more),” Moua said.
Food is a simple and effective way to get to people’s hearts, and trying new foods together can create a bridge across diversity lines in the Chippewa Valley. Getting familiar with traditional Hmong foods is one way to learn more about the culture and to find a new favorite, delectable dish, too.
“A lot of people (in the Hmong community) have changed based on education and religion, but the one thing I notice that hasn’t changed in the Hmong community is food,” Moua said. “You can still see traditional foods at every Hmong event and ceremony regardless of beliefs.”
Hoping to spread those delicious eats with others in the community, HmongStop is a one-stop shop for all things necessary to engage with traditional foods.
“I believe if we can bring the Hmong or Asian foods and dishes to more public events then that’s probably one way to get people to know more about it,” Moua said.
Moua and Lor emphasized courage and curiosity when entering their shop. With all the different foods they cater to that you just can’t find anywhere else in town, they hope you’ll stop in to pick something up and bring a whole new flavor palette into your life. “Try everything!”
Visit HmongStop in person at 307 E. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire. Or find them online at hmongstop.com or on Facebook.