VIDEO: The Story of Global Foods
Suchin Prapaisilp tells Patch why his own experience as an immigrant inspired him to open his store. "Everyone needs to eat their food," he says.
Suchin Prapaisilp arrived in the U.S. in the 1960s with little more than $700 in his pocket. In 1970, after working several jobs, he and his brother opened Jay's International on South Grand Boulevard with only $2,800. Prapaisilp said he felt the need to provide immigrants like himself a place to find their native food.
The original store, which still exists today, carried only a few Asian items that Prapaisilp and his brother would buy in Chicago and bring to St. Louis.
As the St. Louis immigrant population grew, Prapaisilp decided to expand and open a new global grocery story in Kirkwood in 1999.
Today, Global Foods Market sells thousands of products from more than 100 countries.
"You have to learn the culture and the preferences of everybody from different country (sic)," Prapaisilp said. "Everyone needs a place to eat."