Pammel Grocery appeals to customers of all backgrounds

Ahmad Manci stands outside his store on March 11, 2013.

Justin Senecaut

Twenty-six years ago, a young Ahmad Manci decided to open up a grocery store to serve the international student community.

Manci is originally from Palestine, and in 1978, he attended Iowa State.

He graduated in the spring of 1987 with a degree in transportation and logistics. 

A few months later, he opened Pammel Grocery, a store for the international students and community, with the help of the business department in Beardshear Hall.

Pammel Grocery hasn’t always been in the same place.

“We were across Frederiksen Court when we first opened up. Then, six years ago, we moved to where we are today,” Manci said.

However, they are still serving the international community even more than when they first opened.

As stated on the Pammel Grocery website, they serve many communities, including the Indian, Middle Eastern, Pakistani, Turkish, African, South and Central American and Eastern European communities.

“When we first opened, we were half domestic products and half international product, but today, we are mostly international product with a few domestic products,” Manci said.

They don’t have everything, though.

“They have most products that I need, but there are a few items that they are missing,” said Dhruv Malik, a grad student in business administration and a shopper at Pammel.

Although they don’t have everything that everyone would like to have, Manci did mention that if they don’t have a product that anybody would like, they will try to get it in upon request.

Last year, Manci purchased Stanhope Meat Locker, and he is now slaughtering beef, lamb and goat. 

He is also processing the meat, and customers can bring in their own meat, like deer, and have it processed for them.

“I used to get meat from different lockers, but now, I get my meat for the store and the deli from my own locker,” Manci said. The meat that Manci’s locker sells gets national awards.

Manci said that the locker was up for sale. So, he called about it, and a month and a half later, after inspections, he reopened Stanhope Meat Locker.

Although this store was made for the international community, it is not limited to international students. Anybody can go to Pammel.

“Pammel is a place of communication and a center for ideas between people,” Manci said.

Pammel started in a small store and then moved to a bigger store where they were able to hold more products and have a deli which serves plenty of food, from beef to lamb to chicken.

Manci stated that he does some advertising in the newspapers including the Hamilton County paper, but most of the business comes from word of mouth.

“I found out about Pammel through word of mouth. This is how many international students learn about this place,” said Kuntal Barhate, graduate student in industrial and systems engineering and a shopper at Pammel.

“The current students tell the new students where they can shop to get the foods that relate to their culture.”