Murray grocery store becomes place for people to talk about Ukraine invasion, home
MURRAY, Utah – Utahns gathered at a Murray specialty grocery to share their connections and concerns for Ukraine as the Russian invasion unfolded.
European Tastees sells all kinds of food from Eastern Europe and customers talked about the news all day.
The store’s food reminds the customers of home and brings comfort.
On Thursday at European Tastees, some of those thinking of home were terrified.
“People are kind of confused, scared,” said Andrew Makian, general manager of the store. His family owns the store, and they’ve gotten to know many of their customers personally over the 17 years they’ve been in business.
The past few weeks, Makian described how people began to talk about Russia and Ukraine, sharing their thoughts and predictions. He talked about how customers come in and are able to find community with others from the same area of the world.
That tone turned to disbelief Thursday.
“It’s just been a shock because everyone had their own ideas and thoughts, but no one thought it was going to escalate so quickly,” he said.
Makian explained that while they get customers who are from many different countries, a huge number are originally from Ukraine and Russia.
Rhoda Nicholas came in Thursday afternoon to pick up some produce and other items. She’s from Romania, which borders Ukraine.
“All of a sudden, I was faced with some alarming thoughts,” she said. Nicholas said she began to watch news coverage online. She’s also been emailing friends who live in Romania.
She’s scared for what’s next for that entire region.
“They’re all going to be on edge, especially those that were within the so-called Iron Curtain, and under the influence,” she said.
Ember Gutierrez made the trip to European Tastees with her two children and asked Makian to show her what products are from Ukraine.
She explained to Makian how she visited the store for her friend and her friend’s husband.
“Her whole family is from Ukraine, and she’s just been really scared the past few days,” Gutierrez said.
Knowing there’s no peace, she is hoping to give the one thing she can give—comfort, through food that will remind Gutierrez’s friend of home.
“All we can do is pray for the best,” she said. “And hope for the best results, and for everybody’s safety.”
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