By Chinami Tajika
Northwest Asian Weekly
Seafood City, the California-based supermarket chain, is opening its 20th location in Washington state.
Based in Los Angeles, Seafood City has 14 branches in California and Las Vegas, and aims to achieve the goal of becoming “a home away from home” for Filipinos in the United States. It’s tagline is, “At home ako sa yo” — meaning, “With you [Seafood City], I’m at home.”
In choosing a site for Seafood City, its marketing manager Catherine Quien said Tukwila was chosen “due to the large concentration of Filipinos in the area, and also for its accessibility from both the north and south.”
Besides the new site in Tukwila, Seafood City’s management is planning to open up new branches in New York, New Jersey, and Vancouver, B.C.
Seafood City Marketplace is expected to be a one-stop shop and dining establishment. Like a supermarket, it has seafood and meat departments as well as a selection of fresh produce. In addition, it has a bakeshop and several sections for on-the-go convenience food.
What differentiates it from mainstream grocery stores is that Seafood City aims to mix Asian- and Filipino-influenced offerings. There are more than 84,000 Filipinos in Washington state.
“Seafood City offers a unique shopping experience … for the Filipino or Asian lifestyle,” said Quien. “There is a full service supermarket, along with restaurants, bakeshops, and service outlets, so that everything a customer needs is already in one place.”
“Those looking for hard-to-find Asian ingredients and fresh to-market seafood are not going to be disappointed,” said Andrew Ciarrocchi, senior general manager at Westfield Southcenter, where Seafood City is located. “When you factor in the great produce, bakery and new dining options — the offerings of Seafood City are a great compliment to the diverse retail mix at Westfield Southcenter. … The incredible popularity of Seafood City has also added to the Westfield Southcenter consumer base because of its popularity.”
For Nomar Mapalo, the new Tukwila location isn’t the first time he has been to Seafood City. “It was such a fun experience to go there,” he said. Mapalo went to the Seafood City Marketplace with his cousin, uncle, and aunt last Monday. “Seafood City will become big, and one of the top competitors in the Seattle area.”
Mapalo remembers going to the Seafood City in San Diego several times during his childhood. “Seafood City was the first-stop place for our family when we went down to San Diego. … And I could see live crab [there].”
Seafood is a key component and will be on display in a talipapa (open-air style) setting.
Seafood City’s entry into the South Seattle market aims to strengthen Seattle’s already strong reputation for the country’s finest seafood. At the same time, satisfying the area’s need for additional grocery destinations is also in mind.
“The Seafood City Marketplace has a market and various restaurants in the same place. Many Filipinos like to go to the market, of course, but they tend to [also make] purchases in a restaurant,” said Mapalo. “It is the strong point of Seafood City, I think. It is a good opportunity for the Filipino community in this area. We have never had a Filipino place, even though there are many Chinese and Vietnamese places.”
The new Seafood City Marketplace will take up more than 44,000 square feet in Westfield Southcenter.
“All Filipinos must be happy about the opening of Seafood City,” said Linda Oliva. “We can get exactly the same items there as in the Philippines. I like it there a lot.”
According to Quien, approximately 70 percent of Seafood City’s products are targeted to traditional consumers versus mainstream shoppers.
Seafood City is hoping to grow its presence in North America. “We are opening a new store in Chula Vista in San Diego next month,” said Quien. “Certainly, Seafood City aims to open more stores in the future — with new market penetration under way in varying degrees in California, Hawaii, and the East Coast.”
Soon to follow in Seafood City’s opening in Westfield Southcenter are other Filipino dining establishments like Chowking, Tokyo Tokyo, Jollibee, and Red Ribbon. ♦
Seafood City is located on the north side of Westfield Southcenter at 1368 Southcenter Mall #100, Tukwila. For more information, visit www.seafoodcity.com.
Stacy Nguyen contributed to this report.
Chinami Tajika can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.