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Asian market will close doors after two years

Chloe Hildeman, Staff Reporter - February 27, 2013

After nearly two years of business, the Ellensburg Asian Market on 3rd Avenue is closing.

The market, which is owned by a local family, will be shutting its doors near the end of March after struggling to generate enough profit since opening in 2011, an employee who asked to remain anonymous said.

“Business just hasn’t been good. It’s tough, but it’s the way it is,” employee said.

The employee said there were several reasons for the store’s closing. One was the constantly shifting business hours. Last quarter, the store was only open on weekends, and only four to five hours at a time.

The employee said the lack of sufficient advertising is to blame.

“It was kind of a hard cycle,” the clerk said. “You need advertising to get people to come in and shop, but you need people to come in and shop to get the money for advertising.”

As it turns out, many students were unaware of the store’s existence. Some said they would have shopped there if they had been aware.

“I definitely would have gone if I had known,” said Jacob Miller, junior graphic design major.
Other students were less inspired to patronize the business.

“I probably wouldn’t have gone there,” said Lukas Campbell, an undeclared sophomore. “It’s not really what I’m into or what I like to eat.”

The clerk also attributed the closing to the store having a very niche market.

“Because it’s such a specific business, there’s a very small, specific audience it’s catering to,” the clerk said. “I doubt a lot of students at Central have even heard of half the things we sell here.”

Many Central students said they had never been to an Asian food store, but the students who had recalled the experience as a pleasant one.

“I’ve been to some before, but that was in San Francisco, not here,” said Lynsey Benedict, junior law and justice major. “It was interesting though. I’d try something like that again.”

When asked what they believed the cause of the Asian Market’s closing was, several students said that the niche factor played a huge role.

“Finding continuous business is a struggle,” Miller said, “because it’s great if you go there once, but it’s having customers come back which is the issue.”

The location may have also played a part in the store’s under-whelming performance.

The clerk said the low Asian population in Ellensburg was a possible reason for the market’s lack of popularity.

“I think it was definitely a hit-or-miss kind of thing, depending on how well it had taken off in the first place,” Miller said. “But I think it had some promise here, especially considering it’s a college town.”

Benedict disagreed, citing Ellensburg’s college town status as one of the reasons for the store’s lack of business.

“Because this is a college town, I think a lot of students tend to focus on staying on campus,” Benedict said.

Regardless, the store is marking its final weeks. Signs posted to the storefront windows advertise sales on items that will probably never be found in Ellensburg again.

Despite the market’s closing, Benedict said he thought it was a respectable effort.

“I think it was worth taking a chance and opening here,” Benedict said. “Best of luck to the owner.”

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