Middle of the World, Here

Mundo Express
Franklin Ortiz, left, and Clodomiro Medina recently opened Mitad del Mundo Express, a grocery store and more, on North Main Street in East Hampton. Morgan McGivern

   Mitad del Mundo Express started out sharing space with a video rental shop on North Main Street, and when the video and electronics store vacated about a year ago, the Latin grocery store expanded to fill the space independently.
    Although the sign went up just a few weeks ago, Mitad del Mundo has already been gaining in popularity, thanks to its wide variety of food products from Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia, and other Latin American countries.
    Among them are drinks and sodas, cheese, pasta, a selection of teas, medicinal products, different types of bread, canned products, and dried chiles. Money transfer services are also available, and people can buy calling cards and even clothing.
    “Our goal is to serve the Latin community with these products, so they can enjoy them and keep up with the traditions of each one of our countries,” explained Clodomiro Medina, who owns Mitad del Mundo with his partner and nephew, Franklin Ortiz. Both come from Ecuador, and the store’s name, which means middle of the world, or equator, refers to the monument located not far from the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, that marks the division of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
    The family-owned and operated store has a loyal following of customers from the Latino community, and is slowly becoming popular among other locals as well, who are curious to try new products.
    The best sellers, said Mr. Medina, are the cheeses, fresh frozen products, grains, tree tomatoes, and dried products like chiles and herbs.
    “It’s our first experience in this business and it has been amazing, thanks to the great reception. It’s the only mini-market in this area, and people have been supportive,” said Mr. Medina.
    “We welcome those who want to know about our traditions and those who don’t want to forget them. Here you will find everything you are looking for, without traveling to our distant countries . . . just here in East Hampton, in Mitad del Mundo,” he said.
    The store is open every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.