By Beth Luna
Photos Courtesy Oh! Market
Oh! Market International Foods opened its 47,000 square foot flagship store in Manassas last November. Despite its size and incredible slate of offerings, the store is, at its heart, a family grocery store. General Manager Sean Oh is the son of veteran grocers Yonok and Man Oh, who founded the international grocery store FoodMaxx in Winchester in the 1990s. “I have known the international grocery business all of my life,” said Sean. “I helped my parents at their stores; it’s really all I have known!”
Located off Sudley road between Ashley Furniture and Home Depot, customers often see Oh family members working in the aisles “My father is helping – stocking shelves, helping customers, even bagging,” said Sean. “We want to provide customers with items they can only find here coupled with the highest level of service.” The family focuses on creating a custom shopping experience, not only through the products offered but through personal attention.
To serve the many ethnicities in Prince William County and the surrounding area, the store features products from over 60 different countries and offers specialty departments unique to Northern Virginia. Aisles are organized by culture, items are carried that certain communities can’t source easily in the area, and special orders are welcomed. “There have been 50-100 special item requests in the last month,” said Sean. “A Russian customer wanted an authentic pork tongue sausage, so we sourced it in New York City from Russian meat vendor Alex’s Meat Company. We had them send a case of everything we wanted to try. Another customer wanted yellow dragon fruit, and now we carry it full time.”
The stand-out sections at Oh! Market include the meat department and fish market. The butcher is trained to make specific cuts of meat for different needs, such as Hispanic, Muslim, South/Central American and other cultures. “We also carry a specific brand of hand raised beef, High River Angus, from Colorado,” Sean said. “The marbling and quality is outstanding, and we are the only carrier in this area.”
In the fish market you’ll find the staff preparing and custom-cutting like a true fish market. “Recently we brought in live tanks for fish, lobsters, crabs, and crawfish from Vietnam and Louisiana,” said Sean. “Crawfish is loved by different cultures around the world, and not many markets carry it. We are also looking into live tanks for tilapia, bass, trout — whatever appeals to the customers.”
The market carries a vast selection of fruit and vegetable varieties in order to cater to many different cultures. “Like all of our products, we want to offer the highest quality at a competitive price,” Sean said. “We carry both mainstream produce and also items you would never find at Harris Teeter or Giant. For instance, there is an Asian fruit called pomelo. It’s like a huge grapefruit, very citrusy, and we have it. We price match and stay unique. This way, when it comes to products and pricing, we are in our own lane.”
The store’s beer and wine selection is worldwide, featuring over 20 Korean rice wines, 15 varieties of sake, and beers from Japan, Nepal, India, Mexico, Central American and more. And, browse the shelves of the pharmaceutical section and you’ll discover medicinal homeopathic treatments from different cultures, like Chinese Tiger Balm and Dettol, and antiseptic liquid that African and Jamaican people love. “Dettol was a special request, and now we stock it and it flies off the shelves!” Sean said.
Coming soon are the additions of a French/Latino bakery to add to the international selection of breads, Instacart and Amazon lockers for alternative shopping choices, and additional blogs and recipe vlogs to help customers expand their cooking repertoire by using new ingredients. “Chef Mark Chang brings different items from the market and recipes to our YouTube channel,” said Sean. “Currently, he holds some food tastings in-store, but carefully. He prepares curries, meats, soups and more, and has the ingredients displayed at the tastings so customers know exactly what to buy. We’ll do more of this when it is safe to do so.”
Another exciting element is Oh!’s international food court that features three vendors: Wasabiko with authentic Japanese and sushi, K-Bop serving traditional Korean cuisine, and Mexican-fusion dishes from Taco-Chinoz, featuring tacos from around the world.
“Since we opened during the pandemic, the past couple of months have been a little crazy to be honest,” Sean said. “Business has stayed busy – maybe a little slower than expected but it’s been consistent.” To streamline customer traffic, there is one designated entry door. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the store in each department. “It is important to us to keep our customers and employees safe,” said Sean.” We have temperature check stations, plexiglass barriers at check out, floor markings, and we take extra precautions like sanitizing wipes for carts to help everyone feel safer.”
“Grocery stores became more important in the last year as people not only began cooking more but got more experimental with their meals,” he added. “People are trying to cook different things including those meals they’d normally get at their favorite restaurants. So, we’re here to help, and we plan to expand with additional markets in the area over the next five years.”
OH! Market International Foods | 7412 Stream Walk Ln., Manassas | Monday – Sunday, 8:00am – 9:00pm | 571-260-8300 | email@example.com | For more information, blogs and vlogs, visit ohmarketfood.com.