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Seafood City Sets Up Shop In Sugar Land, TX

Seafood City

Seafood City in Sugar Land is the first Filipino-focused specialty supermarket to open in Texas. The 50,000-square-foot one-stop shop is located in the First Colony Commons shopping center in what was formerly Conn’s Furniture store.

Seafood City logo

Attracting shoppers from well over a 60-mile radius, the store has quickly become a popular destination, drawing more than 3,000 customers a day since opening in December. Prior to Seafood City’s arrival, the area was largely underserved by a few smaller grocers offering a limited assortment of Filipino options. Customers often had to travel to multiple retailers to get everything on their shopping lists.

Texas is home to more than 230,000 Filipino-Americans, with nearly 30,000 in the greater Fort Bend/Houston area – the third largest population outside of Hawaii and California. 

In 1989, Seafood City opened its first store in San Diego. Today, the company has more than 35 locations in the U.S. and Canada. A key to the company’s success is its strategy of opening new locations with strategic access to large communities of Filipino-Americans.

Megan Austria, the store’s manager, said the goal with the Sugar Land location was to create a community hub and help people reconnect with the culture, flavors and brands of the Philippines. Seafood City, she noted, is more than just a supermarket, it is a gathering place for the Filipino community to come together. 

Much more than seafood

Seafood City represents a new trend in supermarkets today – blending restaurant features with traditional grocery concepts. The heart of the store is a supermarket with a large assortment of Pinoy favorites, including fresh seafood, meat and fresh produce featuring tropical fruits and vegetables such as dragon fruit and calamansi limes, as well as a wide range of center store, frozen and health and beauty options.

At the Fresh Fish market, customers can find many whole-fish varieties of seafood in free-standing cases. They include Vermillion Red Rock, Seabass, Seabream and Red Tail Fusilier, as well as crab and shrimp. The seafood department also has tanks featuring live clams, mussels and lobsters. 

Customers can choose to have their seafood purchases cleaned at the counter or do it themselves at home. For those who want the convenience of pre-packaged fish, there also are several pre-cut and cleaned options.

Seafood City

Bakers Avenue is the on-site specialty bakery offering classic Filipino breads, cakes and other sweet and savory options such as pan de sal, biscocho and ensaymada.

The store also sells small appliances, including rice cookers, and other gift options. It also features an assortment of Chinese, Korean and Japanese food options.

While Filipino brands such as Jollibee, Chowking, Red Ribbon and others help shoppers reconnect with the familiar products they grew up with, Seafood City’s barbecue restaurant Grill City is helping drive customer traffic.

Located opposite the front end at the left side of the store, Grill City serves authentic Filipino grilled favorites like grilled liempo, grilled pompano, barbecue chicken skewers, whole grilled squid, foot-long turon, banana que (grilled bananas), butchi (sweet sesame balls), chincharon bulaklak, chicken bola bola siopao (chicken steamed buns) and pork asado siopao (pork steamed buns).

Side dishes including bopiz, nilaga, kaldereta, menudo, adobo, kare-kare and sinigang are regular favorites, too.

Grill City is so popular the line can stretch well into the store, and it can take an hour or more to be served. Take-out is available, but many customers eat their food on site at the store’s large indoor seating area. To help control the line, a manager has recently been hired to take down customers’ names and send them a text message when the wait whittles to 40 people or so.

Read more market profiles from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Carol Radice

Senior Content Creator

Carol joins The Shelby Report with more than 25 years writing for B2B magazines that cover the drugstore and supermarket industries. A Rutgers graduate, she earned her B.A. degree in journalism and mass communications more years ago than she cares to admit. She is thrilled to be working with such an accomplished team and to share her knowledge of the industry with Shelby’s readers.

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