World Harvest International & Gourmet Foods relocating to Urbana

Strawberry+Fields+Cafe+and+World+Market+International+%26+Gourmet+are+now+located+in+the+same+building+at+306+W.+Springfield+Ave.+in+Urbana%2C+making+it+easier+for+locals+to+buy+their+food.
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World Harvest International & Gourmet Foods relocating to Urbana

Strawberry Fields Cafe and World Market International & Gourmet are now located in the same building at 306 W. Springfield Ave. in Urbana, making it easier for locals to buy their food.

Strawberry Fields Cafe and World Market International & Gourmet are now located in the same building at 306 W. Springfield Ave. in Urbana, making it easier for locals to buy their food.

Jessica Jutzi

Strawberry Fields Cafe and World Market International & Gourmet are now located in the same building at 306 W. Springfield Ave. in Urbana, making it easier for locals to buy their food.

Jessica Jutzi

Jessica Jutzi

Strawberry Fields Cafe and World Market International & Gourmet are now located in the same building at 306 W. Springfield Ave. in Urbana, making it easier for locals to buy their food.

By Mary Kate Kiley, Staff writer

Jill Quisenberry has been a part of the Urbana community for about 28 years.

Quisenberry does much of her grocery shopping at two local markets — World Harvest International & Gourmet Foods in Champaign and Strawberry Fields Natural Food Market in Urbana.

On Friday, grocery shopping will become much easier for Quisenberry.

Mohammad Al-Heeti, owner of both World Harvest and Strawberry Fields, will be moving his stores side by side. Starting Friday, World Harvest will be located at 306 W. Springfield Ave., Urbana instead of its old location at 519 E. University Ave., Champaign. 

World Harvest has a variety of international foods to serve the diverse population of both Champaign and Urbana.

“World Harvest carries food from over 40 countries, and we serve gourmet options,” Al-Heeti said.“Our products come from countries in Europe, South and Central America, Russia, Africa and more.”

The store has an impressive selection of products like cheese, spices and oils that are imported from around the world.

“We have a really wonderful collection of items from more than 40 plus countries. We have 300 plus cheeses that are all high quality and imported from Europe,” Al-Heeti said.

World Harvest strives to provide options for international students, who are looking for a taste of home. From April 7 through 14, World Harvest will be having a sale on all items in preparation for the move.

Strawberry Fields focuses on providing organic and vegan friendly options, which can still appease many international customers as well.

“Strawberry Fields has a cafe open, which serves good coffee, sandwiches which are fresh to order and a good line of hot foods,” Al-Heeti said. “We also have fresh breads here and pastries and also have vitamin, health and body care items.”

Both World Harvest and Strawberry Fields serve many of the same customers, which makes the combination of the stores easier for customers.

Al-Heeti explained many of his regular customers have been requesting that the stores be combined to make purchasing specific products easier, rather than having to go back and forth between the stores.

“I think it’s best to have (it that way). I think it’s easier for customers,” Al-Heeti said. “It will definitely stay the same business wise, but it’s just better for customers. The new location is better for both handicap accessibility, and the square footage is bigger.”

Ghada Adhami, Urbana resident, said she shops at both locations and is appreciative of the different services both stores provide.

Adhami explained that Strawberry fields has many gluten free options available in their grocery department and also at the cafe.

“I feel like (World Harvest) is very familiar,” Adhami said.“The people know who you are when you walk in.  They have unique products and international foods. Coming from Chicago, I am used to getting easy access to these foods, and with this store, it’s still convenient.” 

Adhami said she is thankful to have such a unique store in the area where she can not only shop but  relax at the same time.

“I am able to do my grocery shopping and then sit at cafe and enjoy the atmosphere. You can’t do that at Meijer or anywhere else,” Adhami said.

Adhami said that the combination will make running errands easier for her and her family. Adhami is hopeful that the combination will make things easier for not only customers but the staff as well.

“Honestly I think it’s for the best. Customers of both had to go to a certain store for different products but with it being combined it’s easier to go shopping,” Adhami said.

For Adhami, the combination serves her well as she often cooks international food for her and her family but is also gluten-free.

Quisenberry said she sees the importance of both stores for people in the area. She talks about the care Al-Heeti devotes to serving his customers and their needs.

“He has his head locally. He is not going to drop us because he is from a big company. He is responsive to what you want and talks to you about it,” Quisenberry said.

As for the combination of both stores, Quisenberry is happy to see Al-Heeti make a necessary move for his company.

“Mohammad is a person you want in your community,” Quisenberry said.“I am excited for him as he owns the building. I hope people make the move, and I know he has a strong following. It’s a good opportunity to push things together and a better infrastructure for the store.”

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