BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – A local grocery store that serves both the local Muslim and broader community has risen from the ashes, so to speak.
A1 Grocery and Halal Meat is celebrating the first anniversary of its new location at 146 Main Street in Binghamton in what once was the Westside post office.
A1 serves a wide variety of meats, fresh produce, spices, flours, canned goods and frozen foods from a number of different cultures including Indian, Pakistani, Middle Eastern and Caribbean.
Everything is 100 percent Halal which means its grown, raised and processed in accordance with Muslim principles.
A1 was forced to move after its former home at 59 Main Street was destroyed by fire in March of last year.
Ammaar Ansari, whose father owns the business, said that some people became impatient during the 5 months it took them to relocate.
“People would come up to me and say, ‘When are you going to reopen? When are you going to reopen?’ I’d reassure them we’re coming back, it’s just a matter of time. Just got to bear with me.”
Ansari said that although the fire was centered on a wing of apartments in the rear, smoke and water damage destroyed 80 percent of their inventory and forced demolition of the entire structure.
According to Ansari, customers travel as much a 2 hours to shop at A1 and the store’s Halal meat, including chicken, beef, lamb, goat and ox tail, is particularly popular with Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Ansari, his brother and father work the store from 11 to 9 seven days a week including Christmas.