It’s a bustling Sunday afternoon filled with the clattering of baskets and excited conversations as hands delve into the vast array of colourful products available at the first Asian supermarket in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, the Oriental Little Camel store at 20 Shoplatch.

The owner of the store, Jun Ma, explains that he came to England in 2000 for university but unexpectedly resulted in him opening a shop with a friend in Oxford upon graduation, leading to many unique experiences since then. As a shopkeeper, he strongly believes in the importance of interaction, explaining that when a ‘customer enters the shop, you need to acknowledge them, so they do not feel that they are invisible to you.’ Using simple questions such as asking about their spice tolerance or their preference in curries, he personalizes their experience and offers everything from cooking advice to snack recommendations. Once, he adds, his party snack recommendations worked so well that he was ‘chased down on a main road so that they could express their appreciation for my suggestion’.


Prior to the opening of Little Camel, locals would make the long journey to his remote dumpling factory well outside of Shrewsbury to shop, recognizing the demand for Asian groceries in Shrewsbury, Jun Ma opened his new shop in the heart of the town, fulfilling a long unprovided demand in the market.


Through taste and interaction, Little Camel hopes to be able to recreate the trusting relationships at his other stores, where frequent customers would call him and his wife ‘sister’ or ‘brother’, a common affectionate term in Chinese to address someone you have a close bond with.


Little Camel is open 10am-6pm, seven days a week.