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Monday, June 12, 2017

Do Bergen County food shoppers really need a bunch of big new supermarkets?

This is the entrance and wheelchair ramp to a new 43,000-square-foot H Mart, which will open in the vacant half of the building at 260 Bergen Turnpike in Little Ferry where the old, tired H Mart is still doing business. 
The new H Mart is expected to open in September, but it isn't known whether the parking lot will be paved to eliminate all of the puddles and potholes that discourage shoppers from going to the old store, below.

Editor's note: As of May 2018, a new H Mart opened in Paramus, but the Chinese supermarket in Hackensack and another new H Mart in Little Ferry have been delayed.



Before the year is out, an enormous Wegmans, two new Korean supermarkets and a Chinese supermarket will open their doors to shoppers who already have too many choices for where to spend their food dollars.

It's not as if Bergen County isn't saturated with traditional supermarkets, including ShopRite, Stop & Shop and Acme; two Costco Wholesale warehouses, two Trader Joe's; and for shoppers who insist on buying only organic and naturally raised or grown food, two Whole Foods Markets.

7 H Marts

Meanwhile, six Korean supermarkets called H Marts already operate in Bergen County -- the wealthiest in the state -- and a seventh is expected to open soon on Route 17 in Paramus.

A new Little Ferry H Mart with a food court is set to open in September, but that 43,000-square-foot supermarket will replace an older H Mart in the other half of the same building at 260 Bergen Turnpike, where Valley Fair operated for many years.

H&Y and other smaller Korean markets also operate in Bergen County.

And 99 Ranch Market, a Chinese-owned supermarket chain based in California, is expected to open in the Home Depot Shopping Center on Hackensack Avenue in Hackensack, near Route 4.

Just last month, Aldi opened a small supermarket near Sears in Hackensack.


Like Manhattan-based Fairway Market, Wegmans ignored Bergen County for many years, but an 108,000-square-foot behemoth, including a liquor store and burger restaurant, is scheduled to open on Sept. 24 in Montvale, near the New York State Border.

That's a 30-plus minute drive from Hackensack on either the perpetually jammed Garden State Parkway or antiquated local roads -- a trip I might venture to make once or twice a year, given all the great food shopping much closer to my home. 

The store, built on farmland bought from DePiero's Farm Stand and Greenhouses, met stiff local opposition. It will have taken more than 5 years from proposal to the scheduled grand opening.

In 2011 and 2012, I visited the nearly 140,000-square-foot Wegmans in Woodbridge, only because I worked part time in East Brunswick at the time:

Last week, Whole Foods Market at Bergen Town Center in Parmaus was offering fresh wild Copper River Sockeye Salmon from Alaska for $29.99 a pound, compared to $16.99 a pound at Costco Wholesale in the Teterboro Landing Shopping Center off Route 46. 
At Whole Foods, King Salmon from the Copper River was $39.99 a pound. In other words, I bought 2.27 pounds of fresh wild Copper River Sockeye from Costco -- dinner for 3, plus leftovers -- for less than 1 pound of King Salmon from the Paramus Whole Foods.
At the Teterboro Costco today, there was a limited amount of Copper River Sockeye Salmon fillets available for $16.99 a pound, above.
For dinner tonight, I enjoyed fresh Wild Sockeye Salmon with Pesto, Greek Yogurt and Fresh Herbs.
I used a grill sprayed with oil that straddles two burners, and cooked the salmon over medium-high heat for 7 minutes to 8 minutes, turning the serving pieces once, above and below.