Orange County: Family-run European grocery store pledges to continue helping Ukrainians despite ban on some Russian products and imports

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) — The owner of a family-owned European gourmet food store in Orange County said Friday that the White House’s ban on certain Russian products and increased barriers to import will affect their business, but their focus will continue on humanitarian efforts to help Ukrainians.

Lisa Harvey of European Delights Gourmet Foods in Fountain Valley said that with things changing so quickly, she doesn’t know how long her shelves will continue to be stocked with Russian products.

The latest of these shifts in US-Russian relations affecting business owners like Harvey and others importing goods from Russia came on Friday.

President Biden announced increased economic pressure on Putin. The United States and its allies are taking steps to deny “most favored nation” status, known as Permanent Normal Trade Relations, or PNTR in the United States.

“Revoking the PNTR for Russia is going to make it harder for Russia to do business with the United States,” President Biden said. “And doing so in unison with other nations that make up half of the global economy will be another blow to the Russian economy which is already suffering very badly from our sanctions.”

Harvey said 30% of his stock comes from Russia, mostly candy, but also dried fish and caviar. In addition to vodka and diamonds, the United States will drop seafood imports from Russia.

“We have some amazing supplements from Canada and Alaska that we’re going to focus on,” Harvey said. “So I guess we’ll have to adjust to a new life, a new reality.”

Ukrainian products also sold here are harder to find, but Harvey said she continues to focus on helping Ukrainians.

Eyewitness News first introduced you to this family business when Harvey organized efforts to collect much-needed medical and baby supplies to send to Ukraine.

Harvey said on Friday she would find a way for her business to stay afloat as there were people in need in her home country.

“I really feel that my efforts matter and that we can come together and the synergy of our efforts can really help on a larger scale,” Harvey said. “And that’s basically my biggest motivation right now.”

The store owner said that regardless of supply shortages, 10% of her profits will continue to be donated to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

To find out how to help Ukrainian refugees and relief efforts, click here.

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