Market Owner Brings Fresh Palate To The Community

By Peregrine Frissell
Daily Inter Lake, Kalispell, Mont.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Glenda Hamilton says that as her business has grown, she has felt her role in the community grow alongside it. She has enjoyed presenting opportunities for Montana residents to connect with Filipino and Southeast Asian culture.

Daily Inter Lake, Kalispell, Mont.

Glenda Hamilton honed her business acumen through different experiences than most entrepreneurs in the Flathead Valley.

Hamilton cut her grocer chops at her grandparents’ store at the community market in a city called Tayabas in her native Philippines. The city is located southeast of the capital, Manila.

Some of the business lessons she learned there when as a child have proved helpful for her experience in the Flathead, where she owns and operates Mabuhay Oriental Market in Kalispell. Still, others require a little interpretation to apply in this city.

“We’d wake up at 12 in the morning because they had to butcher the pig,” Hamilton said.

When she was only 8 years old, she began selling the gelatinous boba tea pearls with condensed milk in a vessel of banana leaves from the same shop.

Slaughtering animals isn’t necessary in the course of her day-to-day operations in Kalispell, but the principles of hard work and going to great lengths to make sure she is getting her customers precisely what they want have served her well.

HAMILTON GETS her products from bi-monthly expeditions she makes to Seattle in a big truck with a 14-foot cargo trailer in tow.

Many of the products, such as kaffir leaves, different varieties of Korean gochujang sauce, avocado ice cream, curry paste and palm sugar are difficult to obtain at other retailers for hundreds of miles in any direction.

Even getting them in Seattle requires a great deal of expertise, and over the years Hamilton has developed methods that allow her to get anything her customers request.

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