Fans of Indian food may know Pomika Sales a small Indian grocery store located in the back room of Meena’s in Tamuning. It’s been open since 2003 but recently business has improved and Vashi Hemlani owner of Pomika Sales and Meena’s plans to move the store to the empty space above Meena’s. He told the Journal that he hopes to have the move completed by October to coincide with Diwali the Festival of Lights.

Minakshi Hemlani member of the board of directors for Pomika Sales and Vashi Hemlani’s daughter; said "It [Pomika] started really small. It was a little hobby. There are a lot of Indian families here on Guam. These are things when you go traveling to India you bring suitcases back with you because you want to cook certain foods. My dad started this hobby where he would bring back spices. It got bigger and bigger and now it’s to the point where we are actually going to expand upstairs because it’s not only retail but we’re supplying to a number of restaurants including Curry Kebab Caspian Grill and a number of different hotels. It took on a life of its own. There was no intention to make it a full-blown business but it’s gone there."

Minakshi Hemlani said that it took little steps. "We’d start with the spices and people would request biscuits so we’d bring in the biscuits. Customers would request Indian movies so we started bringing in Indian movies. Whatever the demand was for we brought it in." Pomika Sales is also the exclusive distributor of Kingfisher beer.

Pomika Sales’ current location is about 1 200 square feet. The new location will be double the size of the current location at 2 000 square feet. Approximately $7 000 to $10 000 will be spent on getting the store’s new location up and running. That includes painting the exterior of the two-story building painting the interior and purchasing and putting up all the equipment.

Not only is the size of the store expanding but its inventory is expanding as well. "We had all the Indian spices. Now we’re getting demands for Middle Eastern spices. We’re also trying expand into Thai spices " Minakshi Hemlani said.

Vashi Hemlani said "Most of the Middle Eastern spices are the same as the ones we already carry. There’s an overlap in culture there."

"We carry items you won’t get elsewhere including cardomon tangori paste methi seeds and Basmati rice. If you do find it elsewhere you will get it so much cheaper here because we buy it in bulk " Minakshi Hemlani said. The store also carries a variety of beans and lentils; packet mixes for tom yum soup and panang a type of Thai curry; galingale a type of ginger; teas; savory snacks; sauces; and paneer " she said.

Besides groceries Pomika Sales also carries a variety of bangles earrings and bed sheets movies and ornaments. Minakshi Hemlani said events like the Hyatt Regency Guam’s Taste of India held November 2005 and Exotic India fair held in November 2005 and the Christmas Bizarre held December 2005 both at the University of Guam generated a lot of interest from the public in the items Pomika Sales carries. MBJ