Henlong Market welcomes new immigrants!
October 16, 2017

Thousands of skilled immigrants come and settle in Surrey every year. One of the areas of interest for them is to explore opportunities with employers and their hiring practices. Staff from Whalley WorkBC had an opportunity to work closely with Henlong Market while placing some immigrant youth with them. It is always a pleasure!

Henlong Market is a unique grocery store in Surrey, offering a broad selection of traditional foods directly imported from Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, Hawaii, and the Philippines. They carry a wide range of fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables, meats, flowers, live and frozen seafood, and spices. There is also a wide selection of Asian household and kitchen items available here.   

While talking to the manager, Lawrence Ho, we discovered that as an employer Henlong considers their staff to be their prized asset and take pride in this fact. Their business includes a huge grocery store and a warehouse distribution operation. They have 90+ employees and surprisingly almost 100% of their staff are immigrants.

Like the store itself, immigrant employees reflect the diverse cultures of the customers who shop at Henlong Market. Staff is able to communicate with customers from different ethnic groups and understand their needs and choices. Mr. Ho said that Henlong Market considers this as their social responsibility to give a new immigrant their first work opportunity. He related this to his own experience and sadly said that he still has his first rejection letter from a retail store that said, ‘no Canadian work experience’. He does not want people to go through that painful discouraging experience.

Henlong hires people not because they are simply immigrants but mostly because immigrants have a desire and need to learn, earn, grow; they aspire to be part of the social mosaic that is Canada. As an employer, Henlong Market has a responsibility to train everyone, provide equal learning and growth opportunities and recognize them for their competency and performance. Discussing challenges about hiring immigrants, Mr. Ho mentioned, ‘sometimes cultural background may make immigrant staff display different behaviours but all it takes is to understand and build your own awareness about their culture’

If you are wondering what Henlong means; it is the founder’s common (nick) name and in Chinese it means "lucky dragon". 

This story was shared by Henlong Market and Options Community Services Society in support of Surrey NEW.