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Aug 21, 2006 01:22 AM

Anybody Make The Grand Opening Of 1 6 8 Supermarket in Alhambra?

When the Von's market at the corner of Valley and New in Alhambra (some of you old timers might remember this shopping center as Crawford's Corner, with its old West architecture) closed down this year, I thought it was just another case of grocery chains unable to survive in the San Gabriel Valley and assumed the space would be vacant. However, it turns out that a new Chinese supermarket just opened up this weekend in that space. Hearing about the opening of 1 6 8 Supermarket, I drove down to Valley and New. But upon arriving I found that the parking lot, which was not even half full when Von's was there, was absolutely full with many cars circling the place in vain hopes of finding a parking space. Consequently, I drove off to return another day. What I'm wondering is besides the looky loo factor, whether the crowds were being brought by some kind grand opening specials. If anybody actually got into the store, I'd be curious about that.

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  1. My wife and I ate at U2 last night and walked across the street to check it out. It was a madhouse, as you described, with cars circling the lot in vain. Inside the aisles were packed. It's like a Chinese Costco but almost all groceries; shelves lined with bulk packs of Asian (mostly Chinese but some Vietnamese and fewer Thai items) goods. Rows and rows of refrigerated cases full of meat and fish, lots of produce, lots of frozen stuff. They also had a coupon in the paper offering free gifts, the particular item depending on how much you spent. If you spent $88 or more you got a free 25 lb sack of jasmine rice; $68 got you a sack of regular rice; and if you spent $2 you got an empty shoyu container, etc., etc. The lines were ridiculously long with carts piled high with mainly foodstuffs. There were also limited appliances on sale like rice cookers (they had the Zojirushi induction neuro fuzzy rice cooker on sale for $179.95, the same one that has for $229) and other such things but almost everything was not a well-known brand (lots of things from Fujitronics). My wife, who knows Chinese stuff way better than I do, said that the bulk-packaged things were pretty cheap. The American stuff seemed on the expensive side to me. I noticed they were selling "king crab" legs for $5.98 a pound which is a very low price but the legs looked like they came from a crab on a diet. There were also live blue crabs crawling all over each other in a case selling for $1.98 a pound. All in all it was quite a circus but if you are an Asian food fan, this was definitely worth a visit. It is probably best if you don't even attempt to look for a parking space in the lot, though. That and the one next door where the Wendy's is were totally full. I suggest parking either on the side streets or south of Valley.

    1. Lots of gift certificates on their 8/18 grand opening date.

      Some good (gimmicks) bargains like $1.68/pound for a variety of seafood, e.g. crab, prawns, etc.

      Looks like another iteration of Hawai'i supermarket. Good cheap produce, seafood, meats, with a smorgasboard of non-food items like kitchenware etc.

      1. My wife talked with some of the old Von's employees before they shut down. According to them, the plaza is actually owned by one of their competitors (probably Kroger's/Ralph's). After their lease ran out, the owners decided not to renew it. And the new Chinese market doesn't compete directly with them.