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Super88 in Allston, or all of them?

The last few times I've been to Super88 in Allston, they were really low on a lot fo stuff. Staples, like Pearl River Soy Sauce....The first time, around last New Years, I kind of thought they were mking a clean sweep. But they've never restocked, and only have lesser known brands, and Kikkoman...This is just an example; I've noticed it in other things, too. They had NO brands of pahok, although they did have some shrimp paste....And, an employee was actually working in the soy sauce aisle, speading out merchandise to make the shelves look more full. Is it just this Super88? All the Super88's? Are they having finanacial trouble, or are other Asian grocery stores having problems getting product?
I haven't been to Kam Man for a few months, probably since Xmas, so I don't know the story there....

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  1. I haven't heard that, and also havent' been to any 88 locations this year, but I once worked for an inventory auditor, and *perhaps* they were taking inventory around New Year's and were purposely holding back shipments of stock so that they wouldn't have so much to count. I'm only speculating of course.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

      Oh yeah, that was my first thought....But, now it's 3 months later....They didn't even have any Sriricha!!!

    2. I have noticed that they stop stocking my favorite yellow curry paste. It's just as well, that curry paste contained a ginormous amount of saturated fat :) But it was soooo delicious!

      1. Interesting - I was at Kam Man last week and noticed several empty shelves in the household products side of the mall. Fortunately, Kam Man was well-stocked with produce, shellfish and other supplies.

        1. I noticed the same for the Allston Super 88 about 2 weeks ago. In contrast The South Bay Plaza/ Dorchester Super 88 seemed to have all the staples. I was also impressed by my maiden voyage Kam Man a few weeks ago.

          1. I ran out of my favorite Healthy Boy soy sauce and went into the 88 on Kneeland Street about 2 weeks ago and they had totally empty shelving in the soy/fish sauce aisle. Empty shelving elsewhere, too. Looked like a very bad sign. Also, they stopped carrying HB thin soy sauce, so I was out of luck either way.

            Went to the larger South Bay store and it was slightly better, but they only had 4 bottles of HB so I bought them all. I think they are cutting down on the variety of items they carry, as I found they no longer carried a few Japanese and Korean products I like, too.

            Recall the Boston Globe article on Super 88 where the owners said they were planning to "Americanize" their stores more. Sad. Personally, I have never been a fan of the Allston location, as I think it is exhibit "A" in their experiment.

            Kam Man seemed not to have the same problem.

            2 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              Really sad...I had to go to Sunset Market to get pahok!

              1. re: C. Hamster

                Oh heavens....the reason why they are (were?) so popular was because they *weren't* so Americanized, I always thought.

              2. I haven't paid that close attention to notice with Super88 (Reliable hasn't seem to have that many changes). However, as the dollar has decreased the availability of some Ethnic products (particularly Brazilian) has decreased. It used to be that a small importer could pick a niche, bring in a container of interesting products, then sell them to the markets which could make a handy profit. The lowered dollar (I understand that China's currency is pegged and PR is chinese) plus transport costs from seaports has made it much more difficult to do such importing on a small scale, so the overall selection has decreased and shifted toward larger brand products (junk foods, baby products that people will pay a premium for, beauty items). The markets also buy less items to get volume discounts and maintain their profits. So even if the Super88 is chuggin along, you can bet there are pressures on some of their importers.

                1. Interesting. I didn't notice anything at C-Mart in Chinatown this weekend nor last week. In my experience over the years, there are often random products or brands that mysteriously "disappear", never to be seen again and without explanation, so this doesn't surprise me. Sometimes we get the cryptic "can't get them anymore" response. I don't think this has anything to do with the solvency of Super88 though; I think this is just the typical wonky supply chain problems I've noticed throughout the years.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kobuta

                    Pearl River (a HUGE international brand) of soy sauce, Sriricha, and pahok? That's like Stop &vShop saying they can't get ketchup and milk anymor, sorry...

                    1. re: galleygirl

                      Hence why I say it's a supply chain problem, not a financial solvency issue. I'm sure there are other factors impacting the supply chain, including tightened review of a lot of products coming from China by customs, recent increases in shipping, etc. but these are all supplier and/or issues outside of Super88's control. In general, I do find a lot of Chinese markets don't have the best inventory forecasting, but that's a whole other discussion.