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Jackson Ward market that specializes in 'exotic snacks' draws customers from Mid-Atlantic

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Posted at 8:20 PM, Mar 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-07 12:50:51-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Jackson Ward shop has a unique following on social media and is drawing customers from across the Mid-Atlantic for its unique assortment of hard-to-find snacks from around the world.

One Way Market on North 1st Street is a convenience store with its shelves stocked with more than 300 specialty items from over seven different countries.

Some of those snacks include Lay's Mac and Cheese Chips, Oreo Moon-cakes and jasmine-peach-flavored Fanta soda from Egypt.

Owner Ervin Johnson said he has seen customers drive from as far away as Virginia Beach, North Carolina and Baltimore to find their beloved treat.

“We specialize in exotic snacks as far as chips, candy, snacks, soda from Japan, China, Australia, Canada, Malaysia -- pretty much a lot of Asian or overseas countries,” Johnson explained.

One Way Market

Receiving multiple deliveries a day, Johnson says it's important to keep unique things coming into the store, as some items will only be on shelves once.

The custom coolers are filled with exotic sodas, juices and teas that align the left side of the store while international candy, cereals, sauces and chips fill the middle and right side.

From Fanta in flavors like mandarin orange, mango or jasmine peach to tropical Fruit Loops, sushi flavored Lays and chestnut Kit Kats customers are constantly surprised at the items they find inside.

Created back in August 2020, One way Market was not always an exotic snack shop. Starting with typical convenience store snacks, the 28 year old Richmond native said it was one snack that changed the direction One Way Market was headed.

“We started with the Captain Crunch berry popcorn and that did really well, so then we just kept going” said Johnson.

The idea stemmed from a visit to California, Johnson said it was common for small smoke shops in Los Angeles to have exotic snacks and thought it'd be a good idea to offer some of those snacks locally.

He said some people buy snacks to not even eat, but just to collect, others buy snacks simply because it reminds them of their childhood.

“Dunkaroos, 3D Doritos and the Super donuts really bring back a lot of memories for some people,” Johnson explained.

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"One time a couple came in here really bummed they couldn't take their trip to Japan because of Covid, but after finding a bunch of Japanese snacks here they left smiling and said they were really thankful they could at least come here and get some things," said Chaise Johnson, a manager at One Way Market.

Chaise Johnson

Ervin Johnson says he really hopes to make this an experience, a one stop shop for people, offering snacks, household products, One Way shirts, hats and even sneakers.

“I want to give customers clean, different unique stuff, I want people to say I want to come back to this shop,” said Johnson

Every time a customer purchases an item a picture is taken and posted to One Way's social media with the caption "solid with us,".

Johnson said showing all the different things people buy on a daily has really helped grow their business.

You can find new snack arrivals and their latest sneaker raffle on their social media @Onewaymarketrva on Instagram.

One Way Market is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.