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On the Snack Attack: New exotic snack shop opens in Vancouver

They're focusing on nostalgic snacks from other countries.

For both Samantha Paredes and Rish Dhall, snacks take them back to where they grew up.

The couple didn't always live here; Paredes moved from Mexico in 2006 and Dhall from India in 2016. The fact they spent a big part of their lives somewhere else is foundational to Snack Attack, the shop they opened in March.

Nostalgia snacks

"Most of our products are nostalgic, right? So it's taking you back in time. These are the hidden gems," says Dhall.

"Vancouver is such a city filled with immigrants," adds Paredes. "We wanted to ensure that you know, maybe you miss a little bit home, right. So here, like you can grab it (the snacks)."

"So the only thing we can do is to get them to snacks, which they actually grew up with," Dhall notes.

While some are name brands from other countries, others are local versions of what could be found in a corner store. In particular, they highlight a type of Skittles they have, which are covered in spices.

"This is something that I would have (in Mexico)," says Paredes. "Why don't I make it available to people to experience?"

Along the way they've also found that there are some similarities between the snacks from their childhoods, notable some chile-lime chips from India, that fit in with the Mexican snacks.

They've also got nostalgic snacks from a variety of foreign places. They have items from the UK, Germany, Turkey, China, Korea and more. Irish items are expected soon, and they're working on getting things from the Philippines, UAE and Hawaii.

Local stuff, too

The shop has a few local items as well, including replica Barge Chilling Beach signs and custom rolling papers that can have all sorts of Vancouver icons printed on them.

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Getting it going

The couple, who've been together for about four years now after starting out as hiking partners, are married and were both working full time, but recently decided to combine their experiences and launch their own business. Dhall brought experience as a web developer, as well as branding and some retail experience, while Paredes had customer service and her family runs a business.

They wanted to keep working, but Dhall needed to quit his job to focus on the shop. Luckily they were able to find mentors via social media to help guide the process. While administrative paperwork slowed things down and the search for space was difficult, they kept going for it and moved quickly when they could.

"It's been really, especially for me, has been really gratifying to see where we started," says Parades. " And see how everything came together so fast, and where we're at now, right?"

That includes a quick turnaround for the space they're in, at 1022 Kingsway. They took over the location on March 1 and had their first day of business March 25 (thank in part to friends coming in helping with things like putting shelves together). A month later on April 20 they had their grand opening.

And the response has been positive, with locals in the neighbourhood already becoming repeat customers.

"The neighborhood has been really good to us. And we've made a lot of friends already with businesses and partnerships," Paredes says.

More to come

With the shop still in its early days, the pair is still working on plans they haven't had the time to enact. That includes a subscription snack box that they want to send out monthly with mystery snacks. The same box will be available at the store, too.

They also bought an e-scooter so they can do free deliveries around the shop. Further out, Dhall is working on a unique t-shirt lineup.

However, the thing both seem excited for on the future is replicating the shop elsewhere. Dhall has poured time and effort into perfecting the Snack Attack brand and thanks to its look, the pair say they've already been approached by people who assume the store is a franchise and want in. But the couple are taking a minute before launching more Snack Attacks.

"I need to wait on that because I haven't even made the franchisee business model yet," says Dhall. 

Snack Attack is located in Unit 3 at 1022 Kingsway. On weekdays it's open 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturdays they don't open until 11 and on Sundays they're open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.