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Korean grocery store Mega Mart to open in Fremont

FREMONT — Just a few months after Sprouts Farmers Market closed at a major Fremont shopping center, a Korean grocery store is preparing to open in the same space, according to the company.

Mega Mart, a Seoul-based grocer, is set to open what would become its third U.S. store, in central Fremont at 3900 Mowry Ave., company officials said.

The first U.S. location for the chain was opened in 2009 in Duluth, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. The Mega Mart company also opened a store under a different name, The K Market, in Sunnyvale last year, according to Bumsuck Ha, the chain’s head of U.S. operations.

Ha said the Fremont store’s grand opening date is currently set for Sept. 23, but the store might have a soft opening sooner. Around that time, the Sunnyvale store’s name will change to Mega Mart also, Ha said. The space is estimated to be 27,000 square-feet, according to previous reports. Prior to Sprouts, the space long was the home of Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

A paper sign inside a window of the building in Fremont that used to house a Sprouts Farmers Market advertises the Korean grocery store coming soon to the space, Mega Mart. (Joseph Geha/Bay Area News Group) 

Mega Mart may likely be only the second Korean market or grocery store in Fremont. Nearby in the same Mowry Plaza shopping center is Manna Oriental Market, a Korean market offering prepared foods, snacks and home goods.

While Fremont has a diverse population, with roughly 60 percent of its residents identifying as having some Asian ancestry, only a small percentage of those identify as being of Korean descent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Ha said the new store will carry specialty Korean products, but will be “for everyone,” and he expects customers to come from Oakland, San Jose and other areas in between to shop at Mega Mart.

The store will feature a gluten-free bakery, as well as an Asian deli counter, serving fresh and prepared foods, including the popular Korean marinated beef dish called bulgogi, noodle dishes and sushi, Ha said. The store will also have a fresh fish counter.

Ha said because the chain has a much longer history and more stores in Korea, its buyers can find unique products for the U.S. market, including Korean snacks and sweets, frozen vegan food options and red ginseng products.

“We are importing that directly from Korea,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “You can’t find some of these things anywhere else.”

Mega Mart, a Seoul-based grocer, is set to open by late September in the Mowry Plaza shopping center in central Fremont, company officials said. Lettering for the store's sign was recently installed on the building that recently housed Sprouts Farmers Market. (Joseph Geha/Bay Area News Group)
Mega Mart’s new sign lettering is seen on July 12, 2022, in the Mowry Plaza shopping center in central Fremont. (Joseph Geha/Bay Area News Group) 

The Mega Mart brand and subsidiaries are owned by parent company Nongshim, a food and drink maker and wholesaler that produces many popular instant noodle dishes. The company has more than 15 stores, a shopping mall and other businesses in Korea.

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