The vacant strip mall at Curtis and Franklin Road on the Boise bench will soon be bustling with shoppers and vendors experiencing different cultures from around the world.
The Boise International Market will have 27 vendors under one roof serving up authentic barbecue, Mexican, Somalian and Ethiopian meals.
Co-owner Lori Porreca saw the opportunity to give others the opportunity to start their own business and share the music, culture food and goods from their native countries.
“We have an Ethiopian grocery and an Ethiopian restaurant called The Red Sea,” Porecca said. “I don't think there is any place in Idaho that sells Ethiopian food so this is a first for Idaho.”
Inside the market, the smell of slow roasted pork will fill the far left corner of the building, as Boise-native Ryan Hansen whips up North Carolina style pulled pork and barbecue.
“You can't rush it,” Hansen said. “My pork usually cooks for 10 to 12 hours.”
At the front of the market, Afghanistan-native Nawid Mohammad Mousa will be opening early to serve authentic and organic Middle Eastern coffee, teas and pastries.
“We don't have such a thing [as an International Market] first of all, so I think this is filling a blank basically by doing this project,” Mohammad Mousa said.
Shoppers will also find Mexican shaved ice, ice cream, smoothies, African food and organic produce grown right here in Boise.
“When you go around [Boise] you don't see that many varieties of different cultures,” Kutukira Mberwa said. “You know they're there but you don't get to see them or experience it as well as you can do it here with the food and the fabrics and the produce and everything else. “You go in [the International Market] and it's like a mini global mall!”
Mberwa moved to Boise from Kenya and will be selling African fashions, like clothing, shoes and accessories, alongside her locally grown fresh organic produce.
“This is really reflective of who is in Boise, who lives here, people who've moved here from all over the world,” Porecca said.
“I can say this is a great, great idea for us,” Congo-native Rita Thara Yenga said. “We'll sell different kinds of African clothes, we're going to make some bags and earrings.”
Along with store-ready hand sewn items, Yenga says customers will be able to request customized goods by choosing the color, pattern and design.
The market will also have tables for dining, and an area for live performances and music.
Their goal is to complete renovations in mid-August, allowing people to stop by seven days a week to indulge in the rich cultures that make up Boise.
There is still space available for a handful of businesses. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.