By Cari Gervin
Community News Writer
In Asia, Kashmir is a mountainous region fought over by India and Pakistan.
In Hixson, Kashmir is a place of harmony for Indians and Pakistanis.
The new Asian grocery specializes in Indian food. But it keeps expanding its inventory to offer Pakistani, Middle Eastern, Chinese and even Mexican foods.
Owner Alex Kurien opened Kashmir Asian Foods four months ago after moving to Chattanooga from New York. He left India for New York 11 years ago, he said, and made the change from selling furniture to selling groceries so as not to compete with one of his friends.
But Mr. Kurien said the main reason he opened Kashmir is that Hixson has the largest Indian population in the Chattanooga area, yet the closest Indian grocery was in East Brainerd.
The location on Highway 153 just down the road from Wal-Mart has proved perfect for Mr. Kurien and his customers. People buy American groceries, he said, and then stop in to get spices, curry mixes, giant bags of rice, and authentic frozen Indian and Halal food at similar prices.
Mr. Kurien buys produce once a week from the market in Atlanta. He gets all types of fruits and vegetables not easily available in town, like green mangos.
Kashmir also offers all the latest Bollywood titles for rentals in a number of languages —; Hindi, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil and others.
Many people stop in for the cheap phone cards too. Mr. Kurien said he has cards for Africa, Mexico and all over Asia, including Iraq. He noted that several military wives have bought cards and been able to talk to their husbands for almost an hour for $5.
E-mail Cari Gervin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kashmir Asian Foods is located at 5622-F Hwy. 153-N.