New Latin grocery, Tienda Mi Esquina, now open for business in Amenia
AMENIA — As of this June, downtown Amenia has been able to experience the tastes and textures of the Spanish culture thanks to a new Latin market, Tienda Mi Esquina, which is now open at 3294 Route 343.
Translating the store’s Spanish namesake into “shop my corner,” Tienda Mi Esquina is a corner grocery-convenience store with an assortment of Spanish items that can be difficult to find locally, according to shop owner Kenia Lopez. As a local resident, Lopez shared how tough it is for her and her husband, Jose, to find ingredients for certain dishes, such as special flours to make tortillas; she said they have to travel to Poughkeepsie or to Brewster to pick up certain ingredients.
“I thought it would be good to have a shop where you could find the little things you need,” Lopez said. “I thought it was something that would be convenient for others.”
Yet before the couple could set up shop in Amenia, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and they were forced to wait a couple of months before they could move forward with plans to open Tienda Mi Esquina. They were able to finally open their business on Monday, June 1, after Governor Andrew Cuomo slowly began to restart the economy through a phased approach in regions throughout the state, months after he shut down nonessential businesses and schools due to COVID-19.
Now locals with a hankering for certain cuts of meat for that special cookout, or a sandwich or tamale to eat on the go or even something colorful to decorate their home, can stop by Tienda Mi Esquina to find what they’re looking for, from jalapeños, mandarinas and cactus pads to piñatas, sombreros and Spanish saints.
“I think it’s a pretty good thing and a lot of people are excited,” Lopez said.
The store’s hours of operation are Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. While Lopez and her husband are currently handling its operations, Lopez said they’re going to need more help soon, with their second child on the way.
As far as what they’re doing to keep their store sanitized during the pandemic, Lopez assured customers they’re taking care of all of the necessary cleaning and that they’re enforcing a rule about wearing masks inside the store. She added that they’re providing masks to customers who don’t have them as well as antibacterial wipes near the register. The store also offers curbside pickup for customers who aren’t comfortable going inside. Given the store’s proximity to the town’s post office, Lopez said sometimes customers will call them from outside the post office and she and her husband will meet customers outside.
Overall, Lopez observed that customers are cautious as they go about their shopping during the pandemic, adding that they often come into the store wearing gloves and carrying hand sanitizer.
Looking ahead, Lopez said she and her husband plan to focus on more groceries in the future. In terms of what she’d like to accomplish while operating their business in Amenia, she hopes the store will be stable and that they’ll be able to keep their inventory consistently stocked.
Given the stoves and sinks located in the back of the store from the space’s past life as a deli, they may possibly convert part of the space into a deli for customers to buy food to go, such as tacos and other traditional Spanish dishes.
To order curbside service from Tienda Mi Esquina, call 845-789-1038.