ISU grad opens his own business in PocatelloApr 11th, 2017 | By Copydesk | Category: Featured
By Josh Friesen
POCATELLO — When Roshan Kumar arrived in the U.S. from his home country of Nepal in 2011 to study at Idaho State University, he never thought he’d one day open his own business in Pocatello.
But now, six years later, that’s exactly what happened.
The ISU graduate acquired what used to be the Persian Bazaar at 905 S. Fifth Ave. — located in the same building as Goody’s Deli — and converted it into the Himalayan Craft and Smoke Shop, which officially opened March 25.
“I’m pretty excited,” Kumar said. “ … I’m learning, which is fun. That’s what’s keeping me motivated.”
Kumar spent two years studying at ISU before moving to California to get some real-world job experience. He returned to Pocatello to resume his education in August 2015 and got his degree in accounting and finance this past December.
“When I graduated, I was looking for jobs,” Kumar said. “I really wanted to start my own business at some point of life, and I said, ‘All right, I want to get into the master’s program at ISU, probably this fall or this spring.’ … So I needed some reason to stay in the town, and I find this is the best place. I have my own schedule. The college is nearby — just across the street. I can just go take my classes and come back and work on the shop.”
While Kumar was at ISU, he soon discovered the closest places for international students to buy hard-to-find international groceries and spices were in Twin Falls and Salt Lake City. Many international students who don’t have cars would either have to rent cars to make those trips or get someone else to drive them.
That’s when Kumar had the idea to bring those items closer.
“I thought, ‘There’s a demand. I’ll just supply the demand.’” he said. “I’ll just open a shop, expand it and bring whatever they need.”
Originally, the Persian Market focused on items from the Middle East. While Kumar’s store will still carry plenty of those items, he’s also expanding his inventory to include items from India, Nepal and east Asia.
“If anyone comes in and asks me, ‘Oh I need this fruit or this variety,’ I’m more than happy to bring it,” Kumar said.
Among Kumar’s current stock are items such as Indian snacks and sweets, smoked rice, prepackaged meals, paneer, beverages and a variety of different noodles and beans. And he plans to soon stock vegetables not available at other grocery stores in Pocatello.
Kumar says he hopes to expand on his first business venture, and wants to one day open some kind of restaurant in East Idaho.
Until then, Kumar is busy building his client base and growing the inventory at his new store.
“This is kind of fun,” he said. “I’m learning a lot of stuff. Schooling is different than a real-life experience. I never thought in my whole life I’d be opening my own shop in Pocatello.”