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Retail Roundup: Asian-American grocer coming to former Source mall

Asian-American supermarket chain 99 Ranch Market plans to

Asian-American supermarket chain 99 Ranch Market plans to open its first New York state store in Westbury, Long Island, this year. Credit: 99 Ranch Market

The revamp of the mostly vacant Westbury property formerly known as the Mall at the Source will include a new Asian-American supermarket, 99 Ranch Market, next year.

The grocer is expanding further outside its California concentration with its first New York state store, which is expected to open in the Westbury property, now called Samanea New York Mall, in the second quarter of 2021, said Juliet Chen, spokeswoman for 99 Ranch Market. 

The 52-store grocery chain has opened eight locations in the last two years –- it is eyeing more East Coast sites now -- and Long Island was the next logical choice, she said.

“We chose Long Island because of its diverse and dense population,” Chen said.

“Our vision is to continue to serve everybody who loves Asian, international food.   And we have always tried to strive to be the brand that is … basically bringing Asia to you without you having to go to Asia,” Chen said.

The new grocery store will move into a 42,600-square-foot space, at 1500 Old Country Road, that was formerly occupied by a Circuit City, said David Ackerman, spokesman for the mall.

Founded in 1984, 99 Ranch Market is a full-service grocer that sells a variety of Asian foods, common shelf-stable American brands, and fresh produce and meat, Chen said.  The chain's new stores include eateries operated by third parties, she said.

Almost 70% of the company’s stores are in California, and the chain has been entering new markets in recent years.  It opened its first Massachusetts store in January in Quincy, a city that just happens to hold the headquarters of Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC, which has the largest grocery market share on Long Island.

Also, 99 Ranch entered the Washington, D.C., metro area in 2018 with a store in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  Expansion in that area will continue with the grocer's first Virginia store, in the suburb of Fairfax, in a few months, Chen said.

The chain and its parent company, Tawa Supermarket Inc., are based in Buena Park, California.

The grocer is expected to join the new lineup of tenants planned for Samanea New York Mall, whose $28 million renovation has resumed after pandemic-related shutdowns this year.  The property's owner hopes a fresh look and transforming the mall into a destination venue for home furnishings and design retail will help attract tenants to fill the property, which has been mostly vacant for years. 

Built in 1996, the 750,000-square-foot property has only four tenants -- Dave & Buster’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Fortunoff Fine Jewelry and Fortunoff Backyard Store.

The P.F. Chang's restaurant in the mall closed permanently in March due to the pandemic.

Three new tenants -- Bloomingdale’s Furniture, Mattress, and Rug Clearance Center, Cajun seafood eatery Hook & Reel, and Korean hot pot restaurant K-Pot -- that were supposed to open in the mall this past spring had their plans put on hold because of COVID-19 restrictions, Ackerman said.

Now, Bloomingdale's Furniture is set to open in the fall and the eateries' construction schedule is on track for late 2020 openings, he said.

Lesso Mall Development Long Island Inc., a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Lesso Group Holdings Ltd., purchased the mall for $92 million in May 2017.

Lesso owns Samanea Group, a Singapore-based company that invests in, develops, and operates large-scale trade centers. Samanea is the landlord for Samanea New York Mall.

Many brick-and-mortar retailers that were already struggling with online competition before the pandemic hit another setback during the state-mandated shutdowns to help stop the spread of the virus.  Meanwhile, grocery stores have been allowed to remain open as essential businesses throughout the health crisis.

Having 99 Ranch Market will enhance the tenant mix at the mall, which has indoor and outdoor portions, by offering an essential business, Ackerman said.

“I think that we really love the opportunity to be more of a regular stop as opposed to an occasional stop,” he said.

Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at tory.parrish@newsday.com.

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