Champions of Alberta Avenue: Kasoa Tropical

Kasoa Tropical Food Market Meets a Need 

Written by Shirley Serviss

Photo by Edmonton Shutterbugs Photography

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Charity Durowaa lives up to her name. The owner of two food markets on Alberta Avenue is a generous woman. “The spirit of my name carries with me,” she says, adding that her Christian religion teaches her to “be kind to other people and help the needy.” She admits that growing up with her grandfather, a pastor in Ghana, probably influenced her as well. 

 

Charity is also a busy woman. She came to Edmonton in 2003, and has established herself as a successful entrepreneur through determination, hard work, and “the blessing of the Lord,” she says. 

She was working as a healthcare aide, when she opened Kasoa Tropical Food Market in 2006, working at the store during the day and continuing to work as a healthcare aide at night. A year later she moved down the block to the present location at 9320 118th Avenue as she needed more room for the African and Caribbean foods and goods she carries. 

Earlier this year, she opened Mama’s Bodega Market, a source for Filipino and Latino Foods at 9340 118th Avenue, to expand her offerings. “I wanted to explore something different,” she says. 

In May, 2016, she opened Kasoa’s second location at 9062 51st Avenue to be more convenient for her south-side customers. “It’s doing well as I already had a customer base across the river,” she says. 

“I’m happy. I’m being blessed. People appreciate having one stop to find everything from West Africa, East Africa and the Caribbean that they’re looking for,” she says. “I’m proud of what I’ve done.” 

Charity finds that many immigrants “come here and end up throwing their talent away” and doing some other kind of work. She believes that whatever your talent is, 

whether it’s being a hairdresser, a seamstress or a mechanic, “if you work hard and do it well, you will succeed,” but cautioned that it takes time. 

Watch The Champions of Alberta Avenue Short Film by Moving Artistry Productions

This special community project became reality through the creative efforts of:

Justin Brunelle | Moving Artistry Productions

Weyme Teeter | Video Editor

David Baron | Cinematographer

Shirley Serviss | Writer

The Edmonton Shutterbugs Photography Group

Christy Morin | Project Producer

Allison Argy-Burgess | Project Coordinator