St. Paul’s HmongTown Marketplace expanding to site within Maplewood Mall

HmongTown Marketplace to open 2nd location at Maplewood Mall

HmongTown Marketplace to open 2nd location at Maplewood Mall

Big plans are underway for the 181,000 square feet former Sears site at Maplewood Mall.

After sitting vacant for more than five years, Toua Xiong bought the property for $5.2 million in November.

Among other things, the plan is to have a kids area, spa and senior center on the first floor. The upper level will serve as the second HmongTown marketplace in the Twin Cities with food and groceries. 

The first HmongTown, which Xiong has been running for 20 years, is in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood. 

With about 100,000 Hmong people in Minnesota, he says there’s been a demand on both the consumer and business side. 

“The economic value that we will bring here once it is opened will be so dramatically increased, and therefore, Maplewood Mall might get a lot better,” he said. 

So far, the owner has already received 400 applications from vendors and business owners for the new venture. 

Nyiaj Zeb Vaj frequents the original HmongTown and is excited to see another one pop up. He says it will offer a different location for those who may live in a different part of town. 

As for Xiong, the business venture is more than just his dream, it’s the community’s, too.

“The marketplace offers opportunities for the people that are having those limitations in terms of English speaking to have enough to open a business by themselves,” Xiong said. 

If everything goes as planned, Xiong says construction can start as early as July with the hope of opening early next year.