Photo: Brendan Kergin
From left to right: Simranjeet Singh, Udit Bharti and HarPreet Singh.
Recent TRU graduates HarPreet Singh and Udit Bharti decided while they were at university they wanted to give something back to the community when they finished their schooling.
That idea is now a brick-and-mortar grocery store on Seymour Street.
Daana Paani opens up next week with a selection of foods and home goods. Most items are from India, with a few from neighbouring countries.
“It’s kind of a one-stop (shop) for everything, so we have everything from India and we’ve taken care of our neighbours Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well,” Bharti tells Castanet. “Because there are a lot of Bangladeshis and Sri Lankan people, too.”
Daana Paani, located at 414 Seymour St. used to be the Whispers Adult Superstore, but over the last little while, has been transformed into a bright, two-floor food store.
“On the first floor, we have our traditional and ethnic stuff,” Bharti says. “In the basement, we have street food, which people don’t generally have here.”
He points out a few highlights from around the store level, including pani puri (which they’ll be selling as part of their street food), dried fish from Sri Lanka, a specialized pickle selection, brands not commonly found in Canada and Frooti.
“It’s a childhood drink,” Bharti explains. “It’s like non-fizzy Fanta.”
He’s quick to talk about their selection of boxed masalas, as well.
“It’s a big variety of masalas, more than 100.”
There’s also a masala-flavoured soda, specialized pots common in Indian kitchens (but not commonly found in Canadian department stores) and an area with religious paraphernalia.
“It’s a proper Indian grocery store… I want Canadian people to feel comfortable coming in,” Bharti says.
Some things may seem familiar to customers who usually shop at Save-On-Foods or Walmart, but slightly different (like a variety of Lays chips).
“It’s a bit spicy but it’s way better then the Lays you get here, way better than the yellow ones,” Bharti says with a laugh.
Daana Paani comes from conversations he and Singh had when they were roommates and studied together at Thompson Rivers University.
“We just finished our education three months ago and decided to give back to the community,” Bharti says, noting they plan on staying in Kamloops.
The store should be open next week, he adds. A hard date hasn’t been set yet, but they hope to be ringing customers through by Nov. 25. (For more information, click here.)
Daana Paani is the second Indian grocer to open in the Tournament Capital recently. The first was FraserCart on McGill Road.