Uwajimaya shows off remodeled flagship store in Seattle’s ID

Asian grocery chain Uwajimaya this week unveiled its remodeled Seattle flagship store at 600 Fifth Ave. S. in the Chinatown-International District.

The company said in a news release that the reworked 35,000-square-foot space has enhanced departments, new products and an updated look and feel. Construction costs topped $10 million.

“For the past year, we’ve been meticulously focused on reimagining our Seattle store with elements that revolutionize the shopping experience while keeping the deep connection to our rich 90-year history,” said Uwajimaya CEO Denise Moriguchi in the release.

Customers will find a new sashimi island and poke bar, demo station, and entry directly into the produce department with views of the enhanced meat and seafood selections. There also are updated and integrated home and beauty areas, an improved shopping flow and check out experience, a bigger deli, and energy-efficient refrigeration, equipment and lighting.

The project team included Hoshide Wanzer Architects and Abbott Construction. Cushing Terrell was in charge of store planning and engineering.

Uwajimaya’s Seattle store has moved twice in the ID over the years. It opened in 1946 on South Main Street, then moved two blocks away in 1970. It’s been in its current location for 20 years.

The first Uwajimaya store opened in Tacoma in the 1930s before WWII. The family was forced to leave Tacoma for Tule Lake Internment Camp during the war and settled in Seattle to start over after the war.

The chain is still family-owned and operated, with other stores in Bellevue, Renton and Beaverton, Oregon. The company also has a wholesale division called Food Service International, as well as a real estate division that recently developed the Publix apartments and commercial space in the ID.

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