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Business Spotlight: Higganum Village Market

Higganum Village Market

 – submitted by Stew and Rogene Gillmor –



Ming Chou

Ming Chou is a most interesting fellow. Over breakfast at Jack’s Restaurant in Higganum Center the other morning, Ming revealed that he was born in Lafayette, Louisiana and formerly owned the oldest general store in the U.S., in Putney, Vermont. This store was featured in YANKEE and in other magazines. The Putney store offered 80% of its food goods in local and organic products, items much valued and even demanded by Vermonters.


Higganum Village market

Since purchasing the Village Market in May 2013, Ming has replaced the refrigerated food coolers and enlarged the floor space. His next move is to install new high grade flooring. The Village Market has considerably expanded its product lines and now carries 57,000 different product items, including 9,000 natural organic items. Ming has no family or relatives employed in his store staff of six full-time and twelve part-time workers. Several of his employees have been with him for 12 years. Ming’s hobby, one might say passion, is cleanliness, quality, and presentation of product. He is constantly comparing prices with other grocery stores, including the giant chain stores. The day we took the photos for this article, Ming was off at 8:30am to drive to Massachusetts to inspect another grocery. Recently, he drove to New York City at midnight just to study a noted all-night deli. His salads and deli items are made in his store and are always kept covered in clear wrap- No half-empty containers of potato or cole slaw salad in the deli case. At opening in the morning and at closing, all of his deli trays are cleaned and full.


So many choices

Ming’s meats and deli items are well-known and bring numerous customers from Middletown and Killingworth. Often his best steak cuts are sold at very low profit margin. Ming’s philosophy is that excellent meats at a good price will bring in the customers who will then buy also their vegetables and other groceries. Meats and deli items account for about 40% of his business. Ming’s professional background includes years of experience in the restaurant and deli business, and he formerly managed a Chinese restaurant. Higganum Village Market’s reputation extends well beyond Haddam, as Ming has been approached to open a second grocery in another Connecticut town.


Quick checkout !!

Higganum Village Market fills a definite need in town, in the second oldest commercial building in Higganum Center. According to the volume PORTRAIT OF A RIVER TOWN (1984), by Janice P. Cunningham and Elizabeth A. Warner, the Grange Building, housing the Village Market, was built about 1891, following the building of the Feed Store in 1880. Ming’s Village Market contributes to local church and charity drives with gifts and discounts. The market is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.



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7 Responses to Business Spotlight: Higganum Village Market

  1. Susann Costa

    February 28, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Thank you for this article featuring Ming.
    He has provided our town with a modernized,clean and efficient full service grocery store featuring wonderful products and friendly staff not commonly found in such a space. Indeed,we are lucky to have him here in Higganum/Haddam.
    Thank you Ming!

  2. Marnie Goodman

    February 28, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Ming has done a fantastic job upgrading “Higgie Market” while keeping its small-town charm. It’s a pleasure to shop there. Such lovely meat and a fine array of yummy chocolates. Thank you for stocking Bark Thins!

  3. John Toce

    February 28, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Always a pleasure shopping here and it’s my local go to!!

  4. Nancy Win-Alderson

    February 29, 2016 at 12:18 am

    Higganum Village Market is clean, well stocked, fabulous meats & deli, and is reasonably priced (I often find items well below S&S) Full of unique, high quality, natural products and great tasting prepared foods, from salads to sandwiches to ready to cook meals. I shop there 3-4 times a week! Ming is friendly & is an expert in the grocery business.

  5. Teri Everett

    February 29, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I love the meats, best steaks I have every bought. Ming also carries some of my favorite canned goods that I cannot find anywhere else. I love the gluten free selection and fresh salads

  6. Kevin O"Connor

    February 29, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Last week I was in the store when my son was coughing. I had water in the car, but Ming opened a bottle of water from the cooler and gave it to my son to help his cough. I looked at Ming and he said “don’t worry about it” That one genuine sincere act by him speaks volumes to me. Thank you Ming.

  7. Mary woods

    March 2, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    If Ming doesn’t have it. He will get it for you. I have celiac disease and Ming has some of the best gluten free food around we are so lucky to have him here in our town