A KPCC series on a potential Southern California supermarket strike includes a segment on the independent markets that have filled a void left by the major chains and now pose a competitive threat. The KPCC in a story and slide show visits four of those stores in Northeast L.A.: Super King and Super A Foods in Glassell Park and Superior and El Super in Highland Park. The stores occupy buildings that once housed the outlets of much larger chains, including a Ralphs where Super King now draws long lines of customers – and cars – with a mix of Armenian, Mexican and mainstream foods. Here’s a scene, from KPCC, of the scene at Super King:
At the Super King market on San Fernando Road in Glassell Park, a neighborhood in northeast L.A., store director Raffi Karayan plays tour guide. “Right now we’re just going through people, trying to maneuver ourselves through the shopping carts. We have 14 checkstands open, and we have baggers on each checkstand to make sure the lines are going as fast as possible.”
We try to walk through the aisle in front of the checkstands and there are grocery carts and people everywhere. This is at 4 p.m. on a Tuesday. Karayan says it’s a slow Tuesday for his Super King.
The first day of weekly Super King specials not only jams the store with customers, but leaves the parking lot jammed with cars and traffic backed up on San Fernando Road to the 2 Freeway onramp. The Silver Lake Trader Joe’s parking lot is a calm oasis in comparison.
* Correction: A previous version of this post said the Super King replaced an Albertsons market. That’s wrong. It was a Ralphs and before that a Hughes (remember those?).