Amin Grocery opens in new location in downtown Willmar

Amin Grocery, a Somali-owned grocery store in downtown Willmar, specializes in international foods and dry goods, and will be selling halal meat produced locally.

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Amin Grocery's new location in downtown Willmar, shown March 9, 2023. is now open and serving the community.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — After months of building renovations, the new Amin Grocery store has been open in its new location for nearly a month in downtown Willmar.

The store, owned by Abdiweli Yusuf and his brothers Bashir and Nadir and located at 432 Litchfield Ave. S.W., sells international food products, amongst other things. It was originally opened in 2015 and was located next to the Somali Star restaurant.

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Amin Grocery owner Abdiweli Yusuf speaks with people in his new store on Litchfield Avenue in downtown Willmar on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

“They are a great helper of me,” Abdiweli said of his brothers. “They (are) always by my side, saying, ‘Hey, let’s do this brother.’”

The Yusufs are also assisted in running the business by their mother, Amima Mohamed, and Abdiweli’s wife, Deko Muhumed.

“My mom and my wife see this business is selling," said Abdiweli of the store he purchased for the original Amin Grocery store. He noted he sends money back to family still living in Africa and said it was an opportunity for him to increase that support. "I thought ... we can expand ourselves ... why not get a business that I own for myself?"


The Yusufs were assisted in buying the new building to expand their business by Sarah Swedburg of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, by the Southwest Initiative Foundation , and also receiving loans from local credit unions.

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Barbara Marks, right, listens to Amin Grocery owner Abdiweli Yusuf speak about products he sells in his store on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Abdiweli described the entities assisting their business as "organizations that are building the community and want to see the community built. I’m glad that I worked with all three of them for giving me this opportunity to come over here," he said, referring to the new location of the business.

The new store is nearly twice the size of the previous location, allowing space for coolers and walk-in freezers. It also provides enough space for customers to use shopping carts, which weren’t available at the previous location.

The coolers and freezers will allow Amin Grocery to sell halal goat and chicken meat, which will be locally produced at Kandi Acres in Hawick and butchered at a new halal butcher shop, Happy Halal, that will be constructed and begin operating this fall in the Willmar Industrial Park .

Before Kandi Acres and Happy Halal, most halal meat that can be found in Willmar was shipped frozen from places like Australia.

Halal meat allowed under Islamic dietary laws has to be produced in a special way, with animals being blessed and facing Mecca to the east before being slaughtered and the blood being drained for no less than three minutes, according to Abdiweli.

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Abdiweli Yusuf, right, rings up items for Joslyn Pappadackis in Amin Grocery in downtown Willmar on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Abdiweli is a graduate of Elevate Community Business Academy and has also taken other business development classes, which helped him learn to negotiate and understand cash flow and accounting, he said.

“It was an honor to be at class to learn a lot of business ability,” he added. “I was a young man who ran a business and who was in a business. There was a lot I gained from that class, and I encourage everybody who needs to be in that program — they will not lose their time, they will gain their time in learning a lot of ability of business skills.”


Abdiweli, Bashir and Nadir came to the United States in June of 2006 with their mother and lived in Virginia for three months before taking a bus to Willmar in November of 2006 when Abdiweli was 15 years old.

Abdiweli, the oldest, graduated from Willmar Senior High School in 2010 and his brothers also graduated from Willmar High School.

Following graduation, Abdiweli worked at Jennie-O Turkey Store for two years and then ran his own transportation and translating business before opening Amin Grocery after getting married and having two children.

Nadir is currently going to school at Minnesota State University Moorhead, striving for a business degree.

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Thomas Lovecraft browses items in Amin Grocery in downtown Willmar on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Abdiweli praised Swedburg for her assistance in helping him build a successful business.

“I don’t call her Sarah Swedburg, I call her my sister,” he said. “I call her in the middle of the night, ‘Hey Sarah, I forgot something.’ She always answers my phone calls and treats me as a brother.”

He also strives to be a business leader who improves the connections in the community.

“My goal is to build the bridges in Willmar to bring the community together, not to just sit down somewhere and say, ‘Hey, I’ll open my business,’” he said. “My community is first. Kandiyohi County and the Willmar community is number one for me.”


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Amin Grocery owner Abdiweli Yusuf holds a bottle of Vimto while speaking about the products he carries in his store in downtown Willmar on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Jennifer Kotila is a reporter for West Central Tribune of Willmar, Minnesota. She focuses on local government, specifically the City of Willmar, and business.

She can be reached via email at: or phone at 320-214-4339.
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