Sun Sets on Ashbury Market

As reported by SF Weekly, it appears as though Ashbury Market and their neighboring wine & cheese shop have closed.

Opened in the 1950s by Walter and Jane Wong, the store remained in Wong family hands until it was sold in 1999.

A few months ago, current owner Resat Turgut launched urbanfresh.com, an online grocery delivery service bringing Ashbury Market goods right to your door. A visit to their website reveals the following message:

“We are moving into a new warehouse. Feel free to browse around our site but we can NOT process any orders at the moment. We appreciate your patience during this time.”

So was the Market suffering due to its residential location? Were they unable to compete with the new Whole Foods? Or did they simply close up shop to focus on the potentially more lucrative (and decidedly lower overhead) grocery delivery business? The above-mentioned message regarding the warehouse makes me think it’s probably the latter.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens, and with so much space now vacant (they took up nearly three storefronts), what might take their place.

7 Comments

Filed under Local Business

7 responses to “Sun Sets on Ashbury Market

  1. Hope they do well. That’s a big change for a store that’s been in the neighborhood since the 50s.

  2. This made me very sad. I really don’t think Whole Foods had much to do with it. For the last few months, these guys seemed to keep moving everything around. Firs they moved the cafe into the wine shop, then they just shut the wine shop, then they were going to move everything into the grocery area. Last time I chatted with one of them, he said the cafe would be reopening in a few days. I really wanted to continue to shop there, but over the past few months, it didn’t seem like they were restocking stuff. You just never knew what they were going to have. And then suddenly, everything just closed up. I wish them the best!

  3. Tim

    This also made me sad. Whole Foods didn’t cause this, but it may be been the nail in the coffin. They had been struggling for some time, evidenced by the lack of merchandise on the shelves in both the store and the liquor store.

    I really don’t know how to explain their traffic problem. When the Wongs owned the store, the place thrived… eventually spinning off Eos and other restaurants. The Pakistani family did OK too, but it was a step downward.

    I had huge hopes for the “new” Ashbury Market. Turget had many innovative ideas, including having food carts work the kitchen/cafe, but the volume just wasn’t there. How could the volume have changed so much in ten years? If anything, I would have though that the demos of the neighborhood would have been more conducive to such a market: more kids/families, higher incomes.

    It’s really a shame that this didn’t work out.

  4. Theo van rosevelt

    Store had been going downhill for a year, saw this coming long ago. Rent was $9,000 a month…and those brothers seemed lazy. The front doors were always open, it was freezing cold and depressing, and I’m supposed to overpay 3x on basic items? Employees always looked miserable. Wine store never open, cafe closed…they thought they could sublet the cafe, lease prevented that. Glad to see it gone, somebody will come al

  5. Ryan

    I live right around the corner from this shop, and I couldn’t be more inconsolable now that they’ve closed. After all, now I have to walk three more blocks in order to get my late night munchies. While I don’t believe Whole Foods had anything to do with its closing, I do think the owners lacked a clear business plan as evidenced by the constant reorganizing. Contrary to the above post, I refute the notion that the brothers were lazy. They seemed to work very hard, but it appeared as though they bit off more than they could chew. Either way, it’s always sad to see a local business fail.
    Oh, and hey Brendan!

  6. Yeah, I have to agree. One of the brothers was always there regardless of time or day. Not lazy at all, but towards the end, seemed a bit rudderless. I overheard a convo where one of them was discussing that maybe they should turn the wine shop portion into a yoga studio.

  7. Gabby

    Ask the Wongs why sold the business in the first place. Maybe the PC neighbors weren’t shopping locally.