Amid the hundreds of people who squeezed into the Worcester Public Market when it opened on a chilly February night in 2020, Pooja Bissal stood among the crowd and envisioned her future.
As she looked around at the diverse group of vendors, the owner of Namaste Woo felt at home in the market located in the Canal District.
“It was a little dream I had. Oh yes, I wanted to be here,” Bissal said. “I love the place.”
Namaste Woo first arrived at the Worcester Public Market on the shelves of the Market Pantry in the form of ready-to-cook meals. The kits specialized in Indian cuisines from recipes Bissal’s mother, who lives in India, passed down to her.
Two weeks ago, Bissal opened her own space inside the market with ready-to-eat meals that also featured family recipes.
“My meal kit customers were like, ‘OK, you gave us ready-to-cook, now give us ready-to-eat,’” Bissal said.
Bissal’s dream inched toward reality several months ago when Tina Zlody, who operates the Market Pantry, suggested Namaste Woo inquire about one of the several vendor openings at the market. In the year and a half since it opened, the market reshuffled its layout creating a few open spots for vendors.
Bissal jumped at the opportunity as Namaste Woo now sits between Pacha Mama, a Peruvian restaurant, which is also new, and Pasta Mani.
She also credited EforAll Worcester for its guidance and knowledge of opening a new business.