Local Asian specialty grocery store facing outbursts over masks

Local News

MANHATTAN, KS (KSNT) – A northeast Kansas family business is asking for respect of businesses who require wearing a mask in their shops.

Fanny Fang grew up in Manhattan, Kansas, the daughter of Chinese immigrants. When the pandemic began her family’s Asian grocery store Mama Fang’s was one of the first businesses to self-impose a mask mandate in their store according to Fang and hired security to help manage the rule after increased hate crimes against Asians.

Her family knew just how real it was having seen the troubles of the pandemic back in China year later. Yet in just the last two weeks, Fang said her employees have experienced multiple instances of hateful outbursts from customers shopping without masks.

“As a business owner it is our right to set policies that we feel will protect you and protect our employees,” said Fang.

In one instance, a woman called her a communist and threw her products on the floor. She then
stormed out and recorded the front of the store, saying that she would publicize a negative experience. In another, a woman exclaimed, “I’ve been here longer than you.”

While Fang isn’t sure if that was a racially motivated comment, she still keeps her guard up. She said the woman claimed she was a customer for 13 years. The store has only been open for 10.

“That is scary and that is happening on my own property and my own store,” said Fang. “The first to step to any change is to believe the severity in which we’re articulating these stories to you.”

Her family has since filed criminal trespass charges against multiple people.

“I feel very much loved by this community but even though I feel that love I do want people to understand that this happens even here in Kansas it’s not something that just happens in New York City, L.A., Chicago,” said Fang.

The grocery store represents over 50 cultures. Whether these instances were over cultural differences or not, Fang says the trauma remains the same no matter where it happens.

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