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'It's time to retire': Beloved Salt Lake Asian foods market closes after 23 years

The exterior of Southeast Market in Salt Lake City in 2021. The owners of the market announced Monday they are closing the business, which first opened in 1997.

The exterior of Southeast Market in Salt Lake City in 2021. The owners of the market announced Monday they are closing the business, which first opened in 1997. (Google Maps)


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SALT LAKE CITY — A popular Asian foods market located near Liberty Park is closing its doors after more than two decades of business.

Southeast Market, 422 E. 900 South, announced via social media on Monday that it was closing its doors. It has been a fixture of the Liberty Wells neighborhood since it opened in 1997.

"It's been a difficult two years and decided it's time to retire," the post read, in part. "We want to thank everyone who has shown us continued support and love throughout our 23 years of business."

The market plans to have a clearance sale Saturday and Sunday, where all items are marked 40% off.

The specialty store was opened by a Chinese family from Vietnam who had relocated to Utah, per a published biography of the store. In its time, the grocery store started by offering customers Chinese and Vietnamese goods but expected to provide more ingredients from east, south and southeast Asia following the "growth of the Asian food culture" along the Wasatch Front, the post states.

The selection went on to include Burmese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Taiwanese ingredients.

"We love, explore and treasure food," its owners once wrote on its now-defunct website.

But there were rumblings in the past couple years that the market would either close or relocate. Building Salt Lake reported in October 2020 that the Salt Lake City Council approved a zoning change at the request of the building's owner that would make way for a mixed residential and commercial development.

Despite the zoning change, Salt Lake City records don't indicate any pending changes to the building, as of Tuesday.

As for Monday's announcement, dozens of customers responded to the online posts, thanking them for their business and wishing the owners the best in their future endeavors.

"You will be missed in the community," one person wrote. "I hope retirement is full of adventures and good times."

"A heartbreaking loss for the community," another person added. "We will miss your incredible staff and delicious foods."

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

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