99 Ranch Market


99 Ranch Market

Infobox_Company
company_name = 99 Ranch Market
company_
company_type = Asian supermarket
foundation = 1984 (Westminster, California)
location = Buena Park, California
industry = Retail
products = Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, grocery, meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor
homepage = [http://www.99ranch.com www.99ranch.com]
parent =

99 Ranch Market (CJKV|t=大華超市|p=Dàhuá Chāoshì; also called Tawa Supermarket, its Chinese name) is both the largest Asian American supermarket chain in the United States, and in Canada, operating under the name T & T Supermarket (大統華). Its stores mainly operate on the West Coast, especially in California, and also has stores in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Washington. It is also considered a Taiwanese-American market because of the considerable amount of products imported from Taiwan and the store was also founded by Taiwanese expatriate Roger H.Chen.

99 Ranch Market is also known as Ranch 99, especially among its non-Asian customers, a transposition perhaps based on confusion about the company logo, but more likely arising because the name Ranch 99 is similar to the name of the familiar California state highway, Highway 99, which runs through much of California's best agricultural land, and which was once known as the "market highway" due to the presence of many vegetable and fruit stands along its route.Fact|date=December 2007

In Canada, 99 Ranch Market operates a joint venture with the Chinese-Canadian T & T Supermarket (大統華) chain, with stores in the Vancouver area as well as in Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto.

History

Roger H. Chen, a Taiwanese expatriate, opened the chain's first location in 1984 in Little Saigon, a Vietnamese American community located in Westminster, California. In 1987, a second market was opened in Montebello (now closed). It was originally called "99 Price Market" but was eventually renamed 99 Ranch Market to give the supermarket a somewhat trendier name. 99 is a lucky number in Chinese folk belief, with the meaning of "doubly long," "eternal", or "never-ending". The company's slogan is "For 100 We Try Harder".

The name has led to some confusion. Some of the stores (especially in Southern California) are located in the same market area as the similarly named 99 Cents Only Stores, but nevertheless there is very little relation between the two chains (99 Ranch Market specializes in Asian-American supermarket products while 99 Cents Only is a variety store that sells products at a price of 99 cents). In addition, in Phoenix, Arizona, there is a similarly-named ethnic supermarket called "Phoenix Ranch Market," but instead of selling Asian products it sells completely different Mexican products.

Over the years, 99 Ranch Market has developed into the largest Asian supermarket chain, with its own production facilities, including farms and processing factories. The chain is currently headquartered in Buena Park, California.

In addition to its American stores, it maintains its own production facilities in China and these company-owned plants have implemented quality control measures to ensure that products from China are compliant with FDA standards and regulations.

Customer base

Although most of its customers are ethnic Chinese Americans, shoppers also include recent immigrants from China, ethnic Chinese from Vietnam, and others. The chain sells a wide range of imported food products and merchandise from Hong Kong, Japan, Mainland China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia, (particularly Vietnam and Thailand). It also carries some domestic products made by Chinese American companies and a limited selection of mainstream American brands. In addition, it has also reached out to pan-Asian customers, especially Filipino Americans and Japanese Americans, by opening locations in areas predominantly populated by people of these two ethnicities.

Because 99 Ranch Market serves a predominantly Chinese American base, Mandarin Chinese serves as the "lingua franca" of the supermarket and its adjacent businesses. In-store PA announcements announcing specials are multi-lingual and often spoken in English, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese Chinese with certain stores also using Vietnamese.

General locations

Generally, the chain locates its stores in newer suburban Mandarin-speaking immigrant communities, such as Milpitas, California, where the supermarket is strategically located near the technology industries of the Silicon Valley which employ many Asian immigrants, and Irvine, California, where wealthy Taiwanese Americans settled during the 1990s.

Non-suburban locations tend to be located in multi-ethnic districts. For instance, the Van Nuys, California and Richmond, California stores are located in multi-cultural neighborhoods and are popular among African American, Mexican, and European American customers, as well as Chinese-speaking customers.

Older Cantonese Chinese neighborhoods in California have not been as welcoming to the chain. The 99 Ranch in Los Angeles' Chinatown operated in the Bamboo Plaza area for several years, but eventually the store was closed, perhaps due to its obscure location and lack of parking space, and perhaps due to competition from local small grocers, who have maintained their popularity among elderly Chinese American shoppers.

Setting up in suburbia, 99 Ranch Market is often the only Asian American supermarket and shopping center for miles around. For instance, 99 Ranch Market is one of the very few Asian supermarkets operating in the San Fernando Valley.

Given the market chain's premium locations, the costs of rent for tenants are generally high, but other Chinese businesses, such as Sam Woo Restaurants, Chinese traditional medicine shops, and gift stores, have been known to follow 99 Ranch Market to its new locations, with 99 Ranch market becoming the anchor tenant for the smaller stores and restaurants within developing Asian suburban shopping areas. For example, in Phoenix, Arizona, the state's first 99 Ranch Market opened as part of a larger "Chinese Cultural Center" that offers a number of Asian restaurants and shops for the city and surrounding areas.

Most 99 Ranch Markets are company-owned. The only franchised locations in the United States are those in Las Vegas and Atlanta; the only franchised location outside the United States is in Surabaya, Indonesia.

tore layout and offerings

In design, 99 Ranch Market stores are similar to mainstream American supermarkets, with aisles that are wider and less cluttered than in most other Chinese markets. The supermarket accepts credit cards for totals above $5.00 whereas many markets in old Chinatowns do not. Also, a handful of 99 Ranch Market locations have an in-store branch of East West Bank, a major Chinese American bank.

Most 99 Ranch Market locations have a full-service take-out deli serving a combination of Cantonese, Taiwanese, and Szechuan fare. Some of the delis in the markets also feature pre-cooked meats, such as Cantonese roast duck (huo ya) and barbecued pork (cha shao). These stores also have a bakery with cakes and fresh Chinese pastries, most of the bread products and pastries sold in the markets being made inside the store. The 99 Ranch locations that do not have delicatessens and/or bakeries simply operate as bare-bones markets.

99 Ranch Market used to operate a membership VIP card program, send out mail circulars with coupons, and promote some sweepstakes as well. All of these programs and promotions were discontinued in August, 2007, in favor of offering all customers the same price benefits. Although the chain remains successful and popular, prices are on average generally higher when compared to smaller non-chain Chinese groceries.

The chain also runs major advertising campaigns, including in-print ads in Chinese-language newspapers such as World Journal, television ads on ETTV America and TVB USA, and radio ads on Chinese-language radio in Southern California.

Competitors

In Southern California, 99 Ranch's main competitors are the Hong Kong Supermarket (established in 1981) and Shun Fat Supermarket (started in the mid-1990s) chains. These two supermarket chains tend to be located within close proximity of some 99 Ranch Market locations, especially in the predominantly Asian American neighborhoods of southern California.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, 99 Ranch Market's main competitors are the Marina Foods and Lion Supermarket chains, as well as smaller and longer-established Cantonese Chinese grocery stores, such as those in Oakland's Chinatown and the Asian neighborhoods of San Francisco. In the Silicon Valley, 99 Ranch Market and Marina are complemented by a number of other large Asian supermarkets with various national-ethnic affiliations. These include Tin Tin (Chinese), Lion (Chinese), Mitsuwa (Japanese), and Han Kook (Korean) supermarkets.

In the Seattle metropolitan area, 99 Ranch Market competes with longer-established supermarket chains such as Uwajimaya, local Vietnamese supermarkets Viet Wah and Hop Thanh (HT Market), and suburban Korean supermarkets and groceries such as Paldo World and H Mart. The two stores in the Seattle area are located far from where most Taiwanese Americans live, and cater instead to mainland Chinese immigrants and Asians from other backgrounds.

Locations

Active 99 Ranch Market stores

Opening years are according to various newspaper sources.

California

*Alhambra - opened in August 2006 as "168 Market", replaced a Vons which lost its lease on the building
*Anaheim
*Arcadia
*Artesia
*Chino Hills, California - Rolling Ridge Center, opened in July 2007, replaced a Ralph's [ [http://www.dailybulletin.com/news/ci_4283778] "Asian Market Reflects Changing Chino Hills"]
*Cupertino - Cupertino Village
*Daly City - Skyline Plaza
*Dublin
*Foster City - opened 2003, replaced PW Markets
*Fremont
*Gardena
*Hacienda Heights - Hacienda Center, replaced a Lucky's
*Irvine - Culver Plaza
*Irvine - Irvine Center, opened 2001
*Los Angeles - Van Nuys neighborhood
*Milpitas - Milpitas Square, newly built
*Monterey Park - unnamed strip mall, opened 1996, replaced a T & T Supermarket, which replaced Hoa Binh supermarket, which replaced a Safeway
*Newark - replaced the Lido Supermarket, which replaced a Safeway
*Richmond - opened 1998, newly built
*Rosemead - Diamond Square, opened 1996, newly built on site of a former K-Mart, formerly a T & T Supermarket
*Rowland Heights - opened 1989, replaced a Gemco
*San Diego - opened 1995
*San Gabriel - San Gabriel Square, opened 1992, newly built on site of a former drive-in theater
*San Jose - opened 1995

Other states

* Arizona
** Phoenix, Arizona - Chinese Cultural Center, opened 1997, franchise, now known as Super L Ranch Market

* Georgia
** Doraville, Georgia (suburb of Atlanta, Georgia) - Asian Square Shopping Center, opened 1993, franchise

* Nevada
** Las Vegas, Nevada (Chinatown, Las Vegas) - Chinatown Plaza, opened 1995, newly built

* Washington
** Edmonds, Washington, opened 2003, replaced a K-Mart - 22511 Highway 99 Edmonds, WA 98026 - 425-670-1899
** Kent, Washington - Great Wall Shopping Mall, opened 1998, newly built - 18230 E. Valley Highway #100 Kent, WA 98032 - (425) 251-9099

Canada

See T & T Supermarket

Indonesia

*Surabaya - Galaxy Mall
*Jakarta - three locations: in Pondok Indah at the Plaza Toys 'R Us, in Mampang at the Promenade, and in Kebon Jeruk

Defunct stores

*City of Industry, California - Diamond Plaza, abandoned storefront in a popular Taiwanese strip mall, formerly a T & T Supermarket, but now has remodeled storefronts in its place [ [http://www.chowhound.com/topics/332724] chowhound.com]
*Los Angeles, California (Chinatown, Los Angeles) - Bamboo Plaza, opened in 1994
*Montebello, California - opened in 1987 as 99 Price Market, it was a popular shopping area in the late 1980s but is now a largely abandoned building with only a few restaurants remaining
*San Jose California - Blossom Valley, at the corner of Blossom Hill and Snell
*Westminster, California - first-ever store, opened as 99 Price Market in 1984, and since replaced by various Vietnamese supermarkets
* Honolulu, Hawaii - Mapunapuna, one of the few franchised locations, opened in 1998 and closed in April 2007. [ [http://starbulletin.com/2006/12/23/business/bizbriefs.html] Honolulu Star Bulletin Business Briefs]

References

External links

* [http://www.99ranch.com 99 Ranch Market]
* [http://www.tnt-supermarket.com T & T Supermarket, which operates joint ventures with 99 Ranch Market in Canada]
* [http://www.asianweek.com/032698/bay.html AsianWeek article: "The Malls of Asian America"] — covers the immense popularity of a 99 Ranch Market shopping center in Milpitas, California
* [http://journalism.berkeley.edu/projects/drink/ranch.html "Grass Jelly, Anyone? 99 Ranch Brings Asian Flavor to East Bay"] — article from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism about the 99 Ranch Market in Richmond, California


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