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Menlo Park: Nak's Oriental Market fights for its life

Original post made on Jul 12, 2013

After nearly five decades of selling groceries, Nak's Oriental Market in Menlo Park is struggling to stay in business despite financial troubles and family illnesses.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 12, 2013, 8:45 AM

Comments (18)

Posted by Michael Meyer
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

My family and I love Nak's. Great place for Ramen and Lychee.

Posted by Tamara
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

This store is a treasure and I'd hate to see it forced away before its time. Even if you've never been there, go now. You're sure to find something interesting and different to suit your tastes. I've gone for years and just yesterday noticed some chocolate vermicelli that I've been looking for...just across the aisle from pancit noodles. Sam is something special and I appreciate him for remaining a fixture downtown for all of these years.

Posted by Betty & Roger Toguchi
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Roger and I go to Nak's every Saturday for over 25 years. Sam and his wife Ikea do a wonderful job - fresh fish - fresh tofu - vegetables and fruit. Roger is from Hawaii and once a month they bring in poi. We support this wonderful store. More people need to know about them

Posted by Cherie
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Naks is a gem, due as much to its owners as to the merchandise. Sam is a wonderfully kind and gracious man; he and his lovely wife make shopping at Naks a real pleasure. I wish Sam well, and hope people flock to the store so we can keep this unique shop, filled with top quality hard-to-find merchandise, operating for many years to come.

Posted by Hope
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I hope this wonderful little market will get the recognition and support it deserves.
These people need help but they are not asking for handouts. They are offering quality food and many items not available anywhere else in town.
People talk about a village character of Menlo Park. Keeping this unique neighborhood store in business would do much to preserve this image.

Posted by tourist
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm

This is a wonderful little store that I make trips to when Im doing business in the area.

The situation Naks finds themselves in is not uncommon when you do not control the building your business is in. How many times do we hear that a favorite little gem of a store can no longer compete and stay alive due to rent hikes? A new owner, or the long time owner passes away and the family trust takes over finding they can or have to raise rents to market value.

Even if more customers arrive sometimes it is not a realistically sustainable. The unfortunate piece is the family will go into debt trying to save the business. Forty Five years in business is a great legacy. Too bad the saavy entrepreneurs of Menlo park who love the store, couldn't share their business accumen and helped this family 20 years ago, stressing they need to own the building their business is in.

Posted by another regular
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Naks has things I can't find elsewhere, and they are so helpful and kind. I like the suggestion made by tourist -- can't some of the entrepreneurs around here help figure out a way that small hometown businesses don't get priced out of the market because of rents charged by out of town property owners who don't have to raise rents. They aren't upgrading the property, just charging the max they can because they can. Small nonprofits on 2nd floors in Menlo Park face the same challenges.
Downtown MP wouldn't be such a sorry tired place if the businesses that operate in the buildings had more of a say in their settings rather than be at the whim of absentee landlords who, no surprise, care more about their own profits than about Menlo Park.
Who can help step up to this kind of challenge? We ought to save Nak's but also others!

Posted by Sybille
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Naks has all the Dutch products I like, having grown up in The Netherlands. Mr. Kurose always tried to order items for me if he did not have them, also things he did not carry (yet) and his son Ken is doing that now too. A wonderful little store! Definitively worth keeping in this community.

Greedy landlords galore in downtown Menlo Park: see all the empty store fronts. Don't they realize that when a store has NO renter, they lose big time??? I hope the owner of the building that Naks is in realizes that and will give Naks a break.

Posted by goodfoods
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

This place is a gem. We purchase the fresh sashimi & freshly-made tofu often, they have the best eggs!! of any store, large delicious apples almost year around, and so much more. Mrs. Nak is a former chef and will help you with how to prepare or use an item. The 2 Mr. Naks are knowledgeable about everything on their shelves.
This is a shame for our community and it will be the community's loss. I encourage everyone to enjoy the friendliness and warmth and sometimes crowdedness of this store, as well as their goods. It's truly a treat.

Posted by goodfoods
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Oops! I've called them the Naks for 30 years but their name is Kurose. I'm sure they'd have a good laugh over that!

Posted by Donna Hall
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 12, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Definitely visit NAKS... my kids love getting whistle candy there and the variety and price of all their mochi is far better than anywhere else!

Posted by pictureted
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 14, 2013 at 5:18 am

Nak's is a gem! Not quantity, but the best quality vegetables and sashimi make this my first grocery stop.

Posted by Louise68
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I find the Almanac's headline to be shameful. It should have read, "Greedy landlord forcing local treasure out of business". Mr. Simitian should sponsor several laws: 1. prohibiting out-of-town landlords from owning any property in California, 2. capping rent hikes to 5% a year, and 3,. forcing rent refunds to all those who have been the victims of greedy landlords.

Our poor dear city and state are both suffering greatly from greed.

I hope for the best for Nak's, but I fear the worst.

Posted by Jenn Menlo Park Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 14, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Nak's is a small town treasure, we love Nak's and are weekly regulars. Sam's personal touch has made it a favorite for our family and we go out of our way to shop there. It would be a shame to see it go after all that he's put into it, we see it as a part of our weekly routine and love the character it adds to the community.

Posted by tourista
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm

A couple of hundred dollars of fish thrown away in a week? It's probably a crazy idea.. because I have no idea if this is 20 or 50 lbs of fish (less or more). But if you could freeze it and accumulate enough to sell for animal feed? or sell to someone that makes animal food? you could include vegetables in that group, too. Just thinking about how to increase sales and decrease waste .. and wishing you success in figuring out how to stay in business. It is obvious your community is very, very fond of you! Good luck.

Posted by Debra
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 30, 2013 at 9:46 pm

I love Naks! Both father and son are kind and helpful: they go the extra mile. I go there at least once a week. Menk Park needs this store!

Posted by Ken Kurose
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Wo! Thank you all for your polite comments. We appreciate you all for your support. My folks will be moving sometime between the 12 ~ 14 of this month. They bought a house in Sparks, NV. and will be moving. I will be running the store from then on. Thanks again for all your comments.

Posted by John Peery
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Headed over to Nak's to say hi to Sam and pick up a couple of bottles of sake, fish, and tofu.

I'll miss your parents, Ken. Thank you so much for keeping the store in their honor, and for our benefit.

Palo Alto

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