In Business: VK Caribbean Groceries in Brainerd Provides a Taste of the Island Life
One grocery store in the Brainerd Lakes Area is offering a community a taste of the island life.
Veron and Kim Whyte are Jamaican immigrants who started out working at Breezy Point Resort. The couple fell in love with Minnesota, and with making the Brainerd Lakes Area home, they opened VK Caribbean Groceries to give not only the community but themselves a reminder of where they come from.
“The idea came up out of, you know, we’re gonna live here, so we would like to have something from home, too, and also share it with people that know, people that we love, people who live in the area also,” said co-owner Kim Whyte.
The market offers a wide range of products that include seasonings, soft drinks, snacks, produce, seafood, and patties, all of which are staples of the Caribbean.
“So we’re bring the Caribbean here, where you can enjoy the taste, the flavor, the vibe, the conversation, we’re bringing that to Minnesota and by extension the greater U.S.,” said co-owner Veron Whyte.
Another aspect of their business is getting those Caribbean staples shipped out to every corner of the United States.
“Even if you’re in Alaska and you want to order from our store, as long as our courier providers can get to your location, we can ship there,” said Kim Whyte. “It doesn’t matter where you are in the U.S.”
Despite only opening in May, VK has developed a passionate clientele who caught that taste for the Island life – a taste that could have the Whytes looking at expansion.
“We are now actually looking into going into the restaurant side of the business, so getting prepared food,” said Veron Whyte. “Because we’ve been asked about it and we see that there’s a demand for it and we’re here to serve our customers, so definitely in the future we see ourselves definitely providing food, like prepared food for our customers. We are doing this to … build our own legacy, building something that we can leave for our generation to come.”
VK Caribbean Groceries in Brainerd is open six days a week, Monday through Saturday.