West Indies Natural Food and Grocery: CapNY Black-Owned Business

Paulette Clarke has run West Indies Natural Food and Grocery in Hudson, NY for 19 years. Their takeaway menu features homemade beef and chicken patties, oxtail stew, seriously amazing chicken curry, rice and peas, and many other dishes from Paulette’s country of origin, Jamaica.

West Indies Natural Food and Grocery

Paulette Clarke in front of West Indies Natural Food and Grocery

At West Indies Natural Food and Grocery there is great takeaway plus a wide selection of West Indies spices, sauces and specialty food products, and kombucha and drinks in the cooler.

Paulette Clarke came to the United States when she was 18, and raised five sons in Hudson. There used to be a broad mix of residents in Hudson, she said. Lately, though, “New Yorkers bought up the real estate. My customers have moved out to Albany, and Kingston and other places.”

An Influx of Visitors

Foska Oats

Warren Street is lined with galleries, restaurants, antique stores, and luxury boutiques. It has the distinct advantage of being within walking distance to the Amtrak train station, which makes it a popular destination for New York City residents.

However, this influx of visitors has not been a boon to the West Indies Natural Foods and Grocery. New Yorkers, Paulette said, “don’t come into my store. I want to say, ‘I don’t bite.’ I wish that people would just come in and look around. They don’t even have to buy anything. If someone comes in, it makes the store owner feel good. Don’t just walk by. Don’t ignore my store.”

Oxtail seasoning

Paulette is discouraged by the lack of attention her business has gotten from newspapers. She said, they “take pictures of every white business around me. They skip right over me.” Her friend Winston Dunn agreed, saying, “It’s not been easy. Not easy.”

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