Middle East Grocery brings exotic flavors to Wilson

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A new Wilson business has an international flair that pays tribute to the owner’s heritage.

Ali Alshohatee opened Middle East Grocery in October in an effort to bring new flavors and products to the Wilson community.

“Most everything comes from the Middle East,” Alshohatee said. “We have products from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Morocco and Turkey.”

Alshohatee, who is originally from Yemen, has lived in North Carolina for two years after opting to move south from New York. He said the store location near the intersection of Ward Boulevard and Tilghman Road has good traffic and easy access from multiple areas.

The store partners with other Middle Eastern businesses in the Triangle to offer authentic products, including a delivery of fresh pita to the Wilson shop every Wednesday.

“Everything is halal and all natural,” said Alshohatee. “There is nothing artificial and no chemicals.”

Tony Aziz said some items are more expensive than similar products at other stores, but Middle East Grocery stocks quality, authentic products, making it worthwhile. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.


North Carolina Department of Commerce officials recently released the unemployment rates for October and noted that rates increased in all 100 counties. When compared to October 2017, the rate decreased in Wilson County from 6.8 percent to 5.3 percent. The same year-to-date comparison revealed decreases in unemployment in Nash, Edgecombe, Johnston, Wayne and Pitt counties as well.

“The number of workers employed statewide (not seasonally adjusted) increased in October by 37,944 to 4,842,983, while those unemployed increased 18,694 to 170,887,” according to a press release. “Since October 2017, the number of workers employed statewide increased 82,496, while those unemployed decreased 40,647.”

Wilson County had a rate of 5 percent unemployment in September, which ranked the county at the third-highest unemployment in the state. A nearly 1 percent increase in unemployment in Robeson County caused the county near the southern state line to drop from fifth-highest unemployment to third-highest, just behind Edgecombe County by 0.3 percent.


The Wilson Chamber of Commerce is combining two popular programs for a lunch this Friday. The Accelerated Networking Luncheon gives members the chance to meet other business leaders while Chamber 101 provides a crash course in all the programs the chamber offers.

The event is free to members at noon on Friday, but registration is due today by calling 252-237-0165.

Got an idea for news to include in next week’s Main Street Minute? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 252-265-7821 or bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com.