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State College International Market Brings Culture & Community To Downtown

When the State College International Market first opened its doors in 1987, it sought to bring foods from around the world to the Penn State community. Owned and operated by a local family, the market quickly began cultivating relationships with community members, especially those with ethnically diverse backgrounds.

Flash forward a few decades, the International Market has evolved into much more than just a specialty grocery store. For many community members, it is a place of nostalgia where they can buy foods that remind them of their childhood.

Located at 328 S. Allen Street, the International Market offers a little taste of home for international students by temporarily bridging the distance between State College and their hometowns. And for new customers and students, it’s a place of interest and intrigue, granting a unique opportunity to try foods from across the globe.

Ava Brendgord | Onward State

Some employees like Rebecca Guo have worked at the market for years. Originally from South China, Guo immigrated to the United States for a job opportunity and has lived in State College for 15 years.

According to Guo, international students are the main customers at the International Market. She believes that students like coming to shop because they all share international backgrounds.

“I feel like we are a family that the international students belong to when they feel homesick or when they miss their own family,” Guo said. “This store makes them feel a lot better because they can buy their home foods. That’s the store’s goal: to serve the local community, especially the international and American students.”

Ava Brendgord | Onward State

The International Market works to serve those with a “global appetite,” and with such an expansive store, it certainly lives up to its goal.

The market specializes in all types of spices, foods, and beverages. It sources hundreds of items from places like India, Turkey, Africa, Japan, Thailand, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean region. The store will often receive weekly shipments of food items, including fresh meats and breads.

Ava Brendgord | Onward State

The International Market has made it clear that food is a way to bring people together and create lasting relationships. The owners and employees have made it their mission to provide families of all ethnicities with the ingredients to bring them closer together.

Between the vast amounts of international foods and their ever-growing community, the State College International Market has truly made a name for itself in Centre County.

To keep up with the International Market, follow its Facebook page or email the store at [email protected].

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About the Author

Ava Brendgord

Ava is a senior from Houston, TX majoring in broadcast journalism. She loves coffee and bagels, traveling, and keeping a healthy balance between watching the news and reality television. Follow her at @avabrendgord on Instagram or email her at [email protected]

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