Newmarket entrepreneur Afshin Yazdani said he saw an opportunity when retail space opened up at 17440 Yonge St. near his home.
The insurance brokerage and body shop owner decided to start a new business: a Persian grocery store and takeout service called Paeez Fine Foods, which soft-launched Nov. 1.
Yazdani said he wanted to provide the international cuisine at a location more convenient for people interested.
“I realized this is going to be a good, small business, grocery store for the Newmarket community,” Yazdani said. “We don’t have that kind of store, we don’t have it in Newmarket. Hopefully, I can bring a good service to the Newmarket community.”
The store offers a wide range of goods, much of it imported from Iran, where Yazdani once lived. It features a deli, a bakery, and a full takeout service with online ordering for people to enjoy Persian cuisine.
Yazdani said he has worked to build the store since September 2020. He said he got into the business because he felt he was not being served well by other grocery stores in the area.
“I didn’t get the thing I was expecting from the other stores,” he said, adding he included features like more space between aisles and increased lighting. “I want the customer to be satisfied with their shopping when they walk into the space.”
Yazdani said he held off on a grand opening to test the market and train staff. He said demand was high, with an overwhelming amount of customers at the start of the soft launch.
“I’m happy to see people. They’re supporting this small business. But at the same time, to be honest with you, I’m very tired,” he said. “Everything you’re looking for, you can find it in this place.”
Customer Talieh Kentros said she came to the store from Bradford, adding it is a more convenient place to get the food she wants compared to driving to Richmond Hill.
“This place is amazing,” she said. “The customer service, how friendly they are, cleanliness and convenience.”
Hengameh Salehi said Newmarket did not offer markets she liked, but this store is different.
“I love this store,” she said. “I like Persian food, Persian stuff, something like this.”
Yazdani said he plans to have a grand opening soon. But the store is still open in the meantime.
He said he believes in the quality of Persian food and is attracting the Persian community. But he added he is glad to see many different communities shopping there.
“I’m testing the market to see how I can make my service better,” he said. “I’m happy to see Canadian, Indian, Pakistani, Russia, Arab, all those communities, they’re coming.”