CHURCH HILL — A new convenience store has come to Church Hill and has taken up in the location of a recently renovated garage. Go Mart owners, Rafi and Monica Sharma, divide work between them. She takes care of the front of the house, and he does the deli work in the back. They also finish each other’s sentences.
When asked how long they have been married, Monica said, “15 years. He doesn’t even remember!”
The dining menu is extensive. The menu itself has four folds. There are salads, wraps, quesadillas and paninis. There also is a rainbow assortment of smoothies. For the first couple months of business they are even giving away fresh coffee.
This is an American dream story for these two who are from India and Queens, NY. Hard work and long hours are their life. Although they live in Annapolis, they wanted more of a country atmosphere, so they leave their home at 5 a.m. to open the store at 6. They look at the long hours as an investment that will pay off.
The Sharma’s said Church Hill was perfect for them, and they are excited to give back to their new community.
“This place was a mess one year ago. It’s a nice area, but this was a garage that had been here for 35 years. Before buying the property, we went to the town for a letter that we can do a convenience store here. They agreed, so we bought the property,” Rafi said.
Along with free coffee, they are also giving away a free cup of soup. This is sort of a meet the new neighbors gesture.
“It is just us appreciating that you are coming in and saying hello. They can walk in the door and feel like they are coming into a family store,” Monica said.
Rafi and Monica met each other in Queens. They are both from Delhi, a huge city of 18 million in India, and then both they moved to New York.
“He has lived in Maryland for 14 years. He always said he wanted to move to a farm kind of area. Small town. And that is where we are,” Monica said.
Back to business. They are definitely trying to offer a lot of options.
The top three sellers are the corned beef pastrami reuben, the Philly cheese steak and the Teriyaki box, which has chicken, white rice, grilled onions and green peppers, lettuce, tomato and cucumbers.
“Mostly people are excited for the food. They open the menu and say, ‘oh wow look at the options’,” Monica said.
“We serve 25 different smoothies. In Annapolis, we started [experimenting with just] four smoothies. It was strawberry banana, mango, triple berries and Hawaiian. It was selling really good. After that we started adding and adding and adding. Now we have a protein smoothie and everything is healthy,” he said.
How did they find Church Hill? Rafi was a manager for a satellite company and driving all over. He saw this building in 2009 and told his wife, “We are going to end up moving here.” Monica wife wasn’t so sure at first. But as time went by he convinced her of the small town lifestyle.
They wanted the community to know they were there. So, they sent a menu mailer by U.S. Post Office. Now they are planning to start delivering food in the next few weeks.
They have one product line that you won’t find everywhere — CBD edibles.
“CBD gummies are good. A lot of people buy them. We have CBD smokes as well. They can also get smoking devices. Most people were saying that before they had to go to Delaware to get these. They are happy we are here,” Monica said.
They also have a full panoply of lottery tickets that they sell. People like to play lottery while they wait for the food.
“We make a penny on the dollar. We don’t make a big number, but it is an attraction,” Monica said.
One of their big goals is to eventually be able to move to Church Hill. They know the 41-mile commute from Annapolis is going to be worse in the summer.
“Next year we should be able to move. Relax in this nice small town and that’s it. I think in a small town people spend more time with their kids. More time to relax. More time to breathe. My daughter loves animals, so we would love to be close to a farm,” Monica said.
Go Mart is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. The store is located at 741 Main Street in Church Hill. Find it online at www.gomartmd.com.