New Asian supermarket could make South Salt Lake’s Chinatown a destination
South Salt Lake • The once-stalled Chinatown development at 3390 S. State St. was bustling last week with the grand opening of the Chinatown Supermarket.
The store, the anchor for the South Salt Lake development, is one of Utah’s largest Asian markets, measuring 35,000 square feet, said Andrew So, whose family owns and operates the property.
"When my family moved here seven or eight years ago, we saw a need for a better shopping experience for the local Asian community," said So, who was frantically trying to greet guests, answer employee questions and run a cash register on the store’s opening day.
The first phase of the Chinatown project was completed several years ago and includes a row of small Asian businesses, including Ho Mei Barbecue restaurant, an Asian gift store and a kung fu club.
But in 2008, with the economic downturn, the project stalled, he said.
As the economy has improved, the So family was able to construct phase two of the project — the supermarket.
On the site of the old Rocky Point Haunted House, the supermarket sells live seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, frozen products and dry goods. It offers products that cater to every Southeast Asian country, from China and Japan to Vietnam, Korea and even India.
Planning for the third phase of Chinatown, west of the supermarket, is underway, So said.
Chinatown Supermarket is only the second grocery store in South Salt Lake, said Mayor Cherie Wood. The other is Reams at 2783 S. State St.
She said Chinatown’s ornate entryway, with red paint and golden dragons, has elicited many questions over the years.
"Everywhere I’d go, people would ask me about it," she said. Now that the anchor store is open, she added, it should infuse the city with some great ethnic eateries and businesses and become a destination for the whole valley.
"We have one of the most diverse communities in the county," Wood said. "And this is in the middle of everything."