Oscar Canonigo opened his KCK Multi Mart because of the need for an international foods store in Carson City.
Canonigo is originally from Cebu City in the Philippines.
"The Philippine community in Carson City had to drive to Reno or Lake Tahoe," he said. "There was nothing here."
Located at 321 Fairview Drive in Carson City, the small store is filled with specialty items like split mung beans, sweet Thai chili sauce and roasted seaweed. Canonigo brings exotic vegetables each week from San Francisco, and bright pink salted eggs are stacked near the cash register.
He said about 50 percent of his customers are Filipino, another 25 percent are Hispanic, and the last 25 percent are mixed race. He's thinking about expanding.
"Ninety percent of the products we sell can't be found in local grocery stores," he said. "Now the big stores are sending their customers here for items they don't carry."
In addition to groceries, Canonigo works for Alpha Cargo, a mail service for the Philippines.
"It's traditional for the Philippine people to send merchandise to their families back home," he said.
Packages are shipped by boat from San Francisco. The trip takes 19 to 20 days, but the cost is a fraction of what local mail outlets charge, Canonigo said.
He moved from the Philippines to San Mateo, Calif., with his family in 1985. He became a supervisor for Magnalite Systems, which transferred him to Carson City in 1990. He opened his store in 1997.
-- Store hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For information, call 885-7421 or toll free 1-888-722-5742.