As the COVID-19 pandemic limited people from dining inside restaurants, many opted to buy groceries from markets and cook from home. One local business owner decided to follow suit by opening a market that will feature culinary staples found in Latin American culture. 

The Emporium Latin Market will open during the weekend of Nov. 5-7 in Woodinville, 6621 Maltby Road Unit A, owner Iram Martinez said.

Martinez said the market will offer a variety of vegetables, tropical fruit and baked goods from Central and Southern American countries like El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala and Peru. 

“We don’t know the neighborhood yet,” he said. “When the people start coming in and asking for certain products, we’ll adapt to those requests.”

To support Woodinville’s economy, Martinez said, he will purchase certain fruits and vegetables for the market from local farmers.

“My goal is to give service to my community here in Woodinville,” he said.

Martinez plans to have a grand opening for the store, he said. More details will be released soon, he added.

The new market is a family-run operation, he said. At first, the family wanted to open a brewery to sell domestic beer and wine instead of a market. However, their plans shifted when COVID-19 hit.

“We decided to open the store because I know people are buying more groceries rather than wanting to go inside into a small place with other people,” Martinez said.

He received a permit to sell alcohol, he said, so the store will offer different types of beer and wine.

In addition to the market, Martinez also owns and operates two Mexican restaurants and a food truck. He first started in the restaurant industry when he opened the food truck, which sells tacos and other Mexican delicacies. 

“One of the reasons why I decided to open a market is because I’m in the restaurant business, and I love cooking,” Martinez said.

He said the family business opened Acá Las Tortas in Bothell about 16 years ago. About five years ago, he opened another restaurant in Lynnwood. The restaurants blend both urban and popular dishes found in Mexico such as tacos, gorditas, nopales and ceviches.

The Lynwood location specializes in seafood and traditional food items, Martinez said.

Martinez, who is originally from Mexico City, said his upbringing had a large influence on his cuisine. His family moved to Washington state about 24 years ago, he added.

“Washington gave me the opportunity to run a family business and grow it more and more,” he said.

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