Since opening in the Long Reach Village Center in February, The Family Marketis tapping into Columbia's cultural diversity and carving out a niche in the local food store scene.
The 54,000-square-foot market, which replaced a Safeway supermarket, carries grocery standards as well as Asian and Hispanic specialties.
"We decided to focus on an international market … and business has been great," says Danny Yi, manager and assistant to the CEO and owner, E. Paul Choe.
The market offers fresh produce, a bakery — breads and pastries baked daily — a deli and a section devoted to jewelry and clothing.
The market also carries household items, including a wall of kitchen gadgets, small appliances, rice cookers, grill plates, bamboo steamers, tableware and home accessories.
Opening an international market also entails connecting with a diverse clientele — something the market's leaders do by advertising in Korean, Chinese and Spanish publications, according to Yi.
"When we had our opening day, we were very surprised by the number of customers who came," Yi says. "Word of mouth and the spoken word about our products and prices keep people coming to shop."
Comfort and community are also goals of the market, which features six red and gray couches near the entrance. Plans are under way for an area of tables and chairs near the deli and bakery offering WiFi and a place for customers to relax and enjoy a snack or meal.
The Family Market, Long Reach Village Center, 8775 Cloudleap Court, Columbia. 410-730-1074.