Asian Store Back In Business In East Biloxi

Despite the long lines and the registers ringing constantly, business at the "Hong Kong Market" on Howard Avenue is slow, compared to pre-Katrina.

Store owner Vy Nguyen said, "We just try to bring something back here, I mean, even though we don't have as much customers as before. We probably half what we had before."

The Nguyen family has operated the grocery store in the heart of the Vietnamese community for eight years. The building went completely underwater during the storm, but the family knew they had to rebuild.

"I think it's important for us to build it here, so we can bring the customers back here," said Nguyen. "We want to show people that the community is still here. The church and the temple, they built back, so why not we build it back?"

The store offers more than just Asian vegetables, exotic fruits, and prepared meals. It's also trying to reach out to American customers like H.F. Frank. Frank checked out the store for the first time Friday, after waiting for months for it to reopen.

"I see it getting more and more finished, and it's open and really, people walking out of here and eating sandwiches today," Frank said with a laugh.

Nguyen is hurting for business right now, but she believes once customers realize she's back, they will call East Biloxi home again.

Nguyen said "People are scattered everywhere right now, but they will come back".

Across the street from "Hong Kong Market," other Asian businesses are also coming back to East Biloxi. The owner of the building says repairs are underway on a restaurant, beauty salon, jewelry store and grocery store. Those businesses are expected to open in about two months.