Taste of Africa comes to Fratton in Portsmouth with new African grocery store AfricExpress

SPICES that can't be found in a regular supermarket, speciality rice and deliciously sweet African bread are some of the goods now available at a new grocery store.

Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 1:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 1:50 pm

The shop AfricExpress, the first of its kind in Portsmouth, opened on Saturday at the Bridge Shopping Centre, in Fratton Road, Fratton.

The business was set up by entrepreneur Mobu Eberendu.

AfricExpress sells a range of African and Caribbean foods such as yam, abacha, ugu leaves, rice and African bread, which is sweet and has a pastry texture.

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New food and international trade store, Africexpress. Owner, Mobu Eberendu with staff, Nene Onimisi, Maddie Kamara and Ginika Nwachukwu. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Mobu, 29, said it was his dream is to give the world an alternative to China.

He said: ‘A lot of product is made in China, but we want to give other alternatives and allow everyone the opportunity to purchase items from Africa and the Caribbean.’

The 29-year-old began to miss his home comforts during his engineering, geology and geotechnics studies at Portsmouth University.

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New food and international trade store, Africexpress. Owner, Mobu Eberendu. Picture: Habibur Rahman

He moved to Chester from Abia State, Nigeria with his family at the age of 15.

He said: ‘Finding where to buy things that related more to myself was a big problem. I came back to solve that within the region, whilst also expanding nationally, because with our platform, anyone can order from anywhere in the country and have the food freshly cooked and delivered to them.’

Mobu, of Longbarn Road, Andover, used his experience and skills from previous companies he had worked for, such as: Amazon, musicMagpie, British Gas and Ministry of Defence to plan his business.

He said preparation, persistence yet patience was the key to making his dream business a reality.

New food and international trade store, Africexpress. Owner, Mobu Eberendu. Picture: Habibur Rahman

He took over the Portsmouth premises, which used to a Select clothing store, two months ago and has spent £5,000 renovating it.

He said: ‘It was challenging starting it now but you can’t sleep on your ideas. You have to go for it. Any time you procrastinate, you may delay your path or end up not doing it at all.’

But opening up a grocery store stocking food and spices from Africa is just a small part of Mobu’s plan, with his biggest passion being opening up the job market to create hundreds and thousands of jobs in Africa and the Caribbean, expanding AfricExpress towards a scale similar to Amazon.

‘Not in terms of size, but in terms of what they do,’ he said.

‘I feel like the future generation of Africa would look at people like myself and believe in themselves. When I started this project, I didn't have all the cash in the world, but I took one step at a time and believed in myself. When you keep going, you’ll find that things do happen, and look what we are achieving.’

As well as opening his African and Caribbean grocery store, Mobu has also created a delivery service app called AfricEats, which allows African and Caribbean restaurants to deliver food.