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The Boston Globe reports that 99 Ranch Market - which it describes as an "Asian Wegmans" is coming to Boston with a store in Quincy that will be its fifth on the east coast.

The other East Coast units are in New Jersey and Maryland; 99 Ranch Market ownership says it could open more in Massachusetts if this one works out. The bulk of the company's 52 stores are on the west coast.

The Globe writes that "like Wegmans, the 99 stores are big and bright and have a cult-like following. They are known for a wide selection of Asian snacks (like brown sugar boba) and instant noodles (more than 50 kinds)."

The story also makes the point that there is plenty of competition: "Anyone familiar with Quincy knows there’s no shortage of places to buy Asian groceries in the city, whether they’re looking for pea pod stems, oyster sauce, or dried shiitake mushrooms. From the parking lot of the future 99 Ranch you can see another Asian grocer, C-Mart, in the next lot over.

"Drive a three-mile stretch of Hancock Street, a main artery, and you can easily find at least four other Asian grocery markets … Across town, Wan Wu, general manager and co-owner of Kam Man Food, has just one question: What took 99 Ranch so long to break into the Boston-area market?

“We expected them to be here much earlier," he tells the Globe.

The story goes on: "Asian food chains are expanding because they see opportunity. There’s more revenue growth in the ethnic grocery market — about 2 percent annually over the next five years, compared with just 1 percent for the overall supermarket sector, according to the research firm IBISWorld. One reason: The Hispanic and Asian populations are fast growing, and they tend to eat more often at home than in restaurants, reports IBISWorld. Asian consumers, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, spend on average 8.3 percent more on food eaten at home than do others."
KC's View:
And it isn't just the Asian and Hispanic populations. The fact is that a more educated and experienced consumer population has been exposed to more different kinds of foods, and they're going to shop these stores as well. You don't get much more educated than Boston, which was once referred to as the "Athens of America" and continues to be one of the more literate places in the country.