When Roger Chen arrived in the United States from Taiwan in the early 1980s, he quickly noticed that there were no food stores that catered to the growing Taiwanese population in southern California. “My father saw a need,” says Jonson Chen, the COO of 99 Ranch Market, which today has more than 40 locations in four states.
“We immigrated from Taiwan in 1982,” Chen recalls. Two years later, his father opened the first 99 Ranch Market – a storefront location in what is now known as Little Saigon, a Vietnamese community located in Westminster, Calif. The company grew steadily, opening additional locations throughout southern California and later expanding into the northern part of the state, where it now has 17 stores. 99 Ranch Market opened its 42nd store in November. 99 Ranch Market gets its name from the phonetic sound of saying “nine” twice in Chinese, which sounds the same as saying “everlasting.”  

Becoming a regional enterprise wasn’t in the original vision for Pete’s Fresh Market when it began as a produce stand in the 1970s. But thanks to the opportunities presented and the potential within previously underserved areas, it now has 12 locations throughout the Chicago area with even more in the pipeline.
Despite this growth, Pete’s remains family owned and operated, which gives it an authenticity and special touch that other big-box retailers might not have, according to Executive Officer Vanessa Dremonas, daughter of its founder and owner. “The owner of Pete’s will go to every one of our stores daily and make suggestions, mentor employees and give a level of personal attention that is rare nowadays,” she says.
Pete’s prides itself on going above and beyond for its customers. Our buyers fight daily to get the best prices, Dremonas says, so that we can pass those savings on to the customer. Quality is also an important component to Pete’s reputation as it has “Fresh” in its name. The company wants to ensure it lives up to its name and brings only the best-quality products to families’ tables. The Dremonas family wouldn’t sell or serve anything it wouldn’t put on its own table, she notes.
This is especially important given the growth of healthy lifestyles, which translates directly into the kinds of products customers want to purchase. More people are looking for non-GMO, organic, specialty and gluten-free foods. “We’re hoping to change the way America eats,” Dremonas says. “We’ve always focused on produce, but in the center of our store, we’re aiming to provide healthier options because customers are asking for them. Junk food and pop just aren’t selling as much anymore. Even the conventional grocery labels are starting to create healthier options within their brand. The quality we stand behind and put our name on is becoming a part of our new tradition.”

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