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COOKING UP DIFFERENT CULTURES
Nelli Provides Authentic Indian Products to West Ashley
 
Nelli indian grocery store west ashley west of denise james
Nelli Grocery owner Christobel Christy hopes to expand West Ashley’s palette with spices and other East Indian accoutrements
 
By Denise K. James
Contributing Writer
 
It used to be that the City of Columbia was the closest place to travel for authentic Indian groceries. Then Christobel Christy, owner of Nelli in West Ashley, decided to bring Charleston its very own Indian grocery store, complete with authentic Indian spices, fresh vegetables, sweets, and snacks.
 
Christy and her husband moved to Charleston from Toronto. They have lived in the area for eight years. “We saw a real need for an Indian Grocery Store. My husband and I like adventures, so we decided to try opening one. So far, it’s been well received. Everyone who has come into the store says how much they appreciate it being around,” says Christy. “This is my first grocery store. But I hope to open many more in the future.”
 
Christy’s own background is well versed in food and cooking. “I have always loved to cook, and my background is Sri Lankan,” she says. “When I moved here, I noticed there was no place to shop when I wanted to fix a real Indian meal.” She says she chose West Ashley to open Nelli because “a lot of people live in West Ashley, and it is close to other businesses. It’s a very convenient place.”
 
Nelli offers a wide variety of Indian ingredients, including lentils, rice, flour, snack foods, and cooking sauces. You can also buy Indian coffee, varieties of teas, and select frozen items. Everything is authentic Indian, even the sweets. The popular dish Soan Papdi, for example, is one of the Indian desserts available at Nelli.
 
One of the best things about shopping at Nelli is the vegetables are always fresh. Christy receives a new shipment of vegetables every Thursday. You can get things like long radishes, long beans, snake guard, egg plant, chili, pumpkins, and tinadora, which is “like a miniature cucumber,” according to Christy. And if the store doesn’t currently have what you need, Christy will try and find it.
 
“The satisfaction is when people thank you for opening your business, and for making things for more convenient for them,” says Christy. “When you do things for your community, and the community encourages you, then it makes you feel good.”
 
Nelli is open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. On the weekends, they are open until 8 p.m., and Tuesday the store is closed. You can follow news about Nelli on Christy’s blog about the store, at nelligrocery.blogspot.com. The phone number is 8225-4111.