African store brings ethnic flair to Austin

Published 7:15 am Thursday, September 3, 2009

A new store has opened in Austin specializing in unique products and ethnic foods.

The MarieJoJo Market, located on 119 Fourth Ave. N.E., sells a variety of African foods and beauty supplies. It opened on Aug. 15.

Owner Jonas Ossenih says the store opened because Austin doesn’t have an African store, and people looking for the specialty products he carries would have to drive to Rochester otherwise.

Email newsletter signup

Items for sale include bath products, along with a range of purses, jewelry, hair accessories, tennis shoes and African movies.

The food selection is still growing, but right now it includes mangos, plantains, goat meat, lamb meat, tilapia and croaker fish, ground cassava leaves and an array of beans, grains and oils.

“Everyday I’m bringing in new stuff,” Ossenih says. If someone has a request, he tries to find the product and order it immediately.

Most of the food comes from a wholesaler in Minneapolis, which imports goods from Africa.

Before opening the shop, Ossenih worked as a registered nurse at St. John’s Nursing Home in Austin. He and his wife, Marie, are originally from Togo, West Africa.

The Marie JoJo Market is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To contact the owner, call (507) 213-0878.