It’s a little store, tiny by most standards, and it caters to an ethnic population.
Its owner, though, is the real story. He is Dmitriy Demchuk, and he is 19.
Russian is a language we don’t normally hear in Wichita. But voices from Russia and the Ukraine have one thing in common:
“I’m buying some Russian (food)," says one customer. "And some kind of fish.”
The food on the shelves in this store is from their home country.
“You can try it, you can try it,” says one customer to another.
This is Alla Market, and 19-year-old Demchuck has Ukrainian origins. He was born there. Now he owns his own market in the 1600 block of South Palisades in Wichita.
“I decided to do something for the community and gain some experience also," Demchuck says. "Right now, I’m at Wichita State University as a freshman studying Business Administration and International Business. So I thought I would get ‘hands-on’ experience.”
Demchuck named the store 'Alla' after his mother. His family is close and supportive.
“My parents have taught me the value of hard work and how to achieve
something that you have to work for,” Demchuck says. “I get enjoyment out of this.”
Dmitriy and his parents drive to New York and other cities to purchase what’s on their shelves. That way, there is no middleman and they know what they are getting.
“For me it is really important," Demchuck says.
“This is Russian national food," he says. “It brings really great enjoyment to see how the people come in here and react and see and remember all of the kinds of foods they had back home.”
“And we all really like having this business in Wichita.”
Demchuck says Kansas and Ukraine both share the sunflower. In Ukraine, it is the national flower.
“I want to do some good for the community," Demchuck says. “I don’t need to go to Kansas City to buy everything. I can buy it right here.... It’s helped bring the community together and that is the one thing I get the
most enjoyment out of.”
Dmitriy estimates there are 600 to 800 Russians and Ukrainians living
in the Wichita area, plus many more from Eastern Europe. One note: His little market is open in the afternoons and evenings because he has to be in class in the mornings.
You can visit the Alla Market at:
1601 S. Palisade
Hours: 1-8 pm Monday-Thursday
1-9 pm Friday-Saturday