THOUSANDS OF RESIDENTS flocked to Westfield Oakridge Mall this past Tuesday to check out the latest store bringing an expansive variety of pan-Asian produce, baked goods and hot food to South San Jose.
The 99 Ranch Market company, one of the largest Asian supermarket chains in the nation, unveiled its newest store this week at Oakridge Mall on Blossom Hill Road. Located next to Living Spaces furniture store, the market is the chain’s first mall location and its second outlet in San Jose.
The store features a traditional supermarket with all the staples — produce, meat and seafood — as well as a dining hall where customers can enjoy dim sum and Hong Kong-style barbecue. Tuesday’s soft opening of the 30,000-square-foot store also includes a tea bar and a bakery. The store is planning a grand opening ceremony on March 26.
“It’s been very busy,” Angie Chen, the store manager, told San José Spotlight, adding the store had served more than 2,200 customers as of mid-afternoon Tuesday. “We think we’ll see more people come once they get off work.”
The company hopes its new nontraditional location will be a big draw for Oakridge Mall.
“We know that when consumers visit malls, they are looking for experiences that go well beyond traditional shopping,” Teddy Chow, vice president of 99 Ranch Market in Northern California, told San José Spotlight. “We have trendy groceries, an array of hot food selections and (a) comfortable shopping area. This concept is a perfect match with the business model of a shopping mall which can facilitate a greater variety of shops, and can create a more pleasant environment for shoppers.”
The store, which took over the vacant space that previously housed Billy Beez indoor kids playground, will also offer a same day curbside pick-up in the parking lot in front of its new location.
The supermarket’s opening marks a new era for traditional spaces such as malls and offices to diversify their use — a direction Oakridge has been working on, said San Jose Chamber of Commerce CEO Derrick Seaver.
“Traditional retail has had a rough go first with the Amazonization of the economy and then with the pandemic,” Seaver told San José Spotlight. “The fact that (Oakridge Mall) is reimagining the space in a different way is a really positive development.”
Seaver expects Silicon Valley will start seeing more businesses exploring nontraditional ways to reach consumers. He said the new 99 Ranch store location also reflects the change in the area’s population and a desire for more choices.
The new supermarket will have to compete for traffic with nearby options, including Costco, Whole Foods, Target and Walmart. But for many South San Jose residents, the new 99 Ranch Market fills a gap they have long noticed.
“There’s no other option for (an) Asian market around,” resident Annie Li told San José Spotlight in front of her shopping cart full of food. “This is very good for the community.”
Prior to the store’s opening, Li and her family often had to drive to Cupertino for their grocery runs. Now, dinner is five minutes away.
“I’ve lived in the area for 10 years, so this is very exciting to have,” Li added.
For Teressa Felk, having the supermarket at Oakridge Mall helps solve the parking issue at other locations.
“At the Cupertino location, we always have to fight for a parking spot,” Felk told San José Spotlight. “Here you have ample parking so I think it’s a pretty good idea.”
Pia Gomoldilas and her 6-year-old son Odinn shopped at the market on Tuesday. Gomoldilas said the new supermarket is a great addition to the mall.
“We often spend time at this mall on the weekend,” she told San José Spotlight. “With this store, Oakridge is really an all-in-one option for us.”
Contact Tran Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @nguyenntrann on Twitter.