Humble but historic: Wayland Mini Market

Tina Su and Charlotte Thirman

As cars rush by on Route 20 in the center of town, stores like CVS, USPS and Stop and Shop blur in and out of view. Smaller businesses with more modest signage, however, are completely overlooked, which is where Wayland Mini Market comes into the picture.

Starting as a family business opened by Ahmed Mousa in 2002, Wayland Mini Market has been around for over 20 years. Still, many Wayland residents have little to no idea of its existence or history.

“The first I had heard of it was on Wayland Community Forum a couple of weeks ago,” junior Michelle Yee said. “It’s between two other stores and right across the street from CVS, so it’s easy to miss.”

Mousa started the market early, opening the first of its kind in Wayland.

“I studied this location for a few weeks [when I was trying to open the business] and decided this was a good location in downtown Wayland,” Mousa said. “There was nothing else around, [it was] before Stop and Shop opened or CVS. I’ve been here over 20 years, [so] there were no other convenience stores or any grocery markets.”

While many convenience stores tend to sell similar products, Wayland Mini Market stands out with its array of unique treats such as ice cream and cultural desserts.

“We sell everything here, we try to make it easy for everyone to access,” Mousa said. “We have international food and international sweets. I don’t sell any liquor, beer or wine in the store, but I have everything else. The pastries that I sell here come from the best bakery in the United States, in my opinion. It is located in Michigan and called Shatila Bakery.”

Mousa’s love for other cultures is reflected in the items he sells, and it has paid off given the influx of customers.

“[A lot of people come in] to buy all different international drinks and Italian, Turkish, British, French and Middle Eastern sweets,” Mousa said. “I try to put the best quality [items] in the store. We have things that you can’t find in every store: figs, dates, honeycomb, baklava, sesame treats and candies from all over the world.”

Mousa prides himself on his distinct products and credits that for the success of his business.

“We get crazy sales for Richardson’s ice cream that come in half gallons, tubes and by scoop,” Mousa said. “People come from everywhere: Sudbury, Marlborough, Weston, Newton and Concord for all of my unique items.”

While small, Wayland Mini Market remains busy, with some customers coming in several times a day to pick up necessities.

“I am always busy in the store, from the morning to the afternoon,” Mousa said. “We always have people around, even at nighttime, since this is such a good location.”

Mousa’s quality relationship with his customers is reflected in the high praise the Wayland Mini Market receives.

“This is the best variety store in town,” an anonymous customer said.

Owning a small business is time consuming and difficult, but Mousa believes that it is worth it.

“You need to be a hard worker and put in a lot of time [to make this business work], but I love it because I see everyone [happy] in my store,” Mousa said.

Mousa’s favorite part of being a small business owner is not the economic aspect of the company, but rather the more personal and authentic face-to-face interactions he gets with his customers.

“We [can] talk about everything that is going on in their lives and mine, ” Mousa said. “I have [made] a lot of friends that come here. I love this store, I love my business, I love this kind of interaction with my customers. I love seeing all the different people that come through here. Wayland’s a great town with great people.”