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Asian grocery in Sky View to open its doors

For the second time since May, a massive Asian-focused supermarket is slated to open in bustling Flushing, offering a wide range of Chinese and American foods in an upscale setting.

Sky Foods, the flagship store of the Chung Fat Supermarket Group — which already operates two groceries in Queens and four other shops in the New York area — will open July 23 in a 36,000-square-foot location at the Sky View Center shopping mall.

The goal is to bring a new model of grocery to Flushing residents, Sky Foods spokeswoman Li Jing said during a preview tour of the cavernous, high-ceilinged facility Monday morning as workers stocked shelves with Chinese delicacies and worked to ready the store for its grand opening.

From rows of tanks filled with live exotic seafood like stonefish and Chinese eels to rare fruits like longans, mangosteens and flat peaches, the store will be a menagerie of delights for local foodies.

“It’s a destination. When people come here, it won’t just be a crowded Asian grocery, it will be a very enjoyable shopping environment,” she said. “It’s not a stereotypical Asian grocery and it’s not just an American store. We try to pick the best products from all different cultures because the goal is to offer foods and products to help people keep healthy.”

Billing itself as “the largest Asian grocery store in Queens,” despite the recent opening of the 45,000-square-foot J Mart supermarket in New World Mall, at 40-12 Main St. in downtown Flushing´╗┐, representatives for Sky Foods say it will offer services no other store in the area can provide.

One such amenity is 2,400 parking spaces in a six-floor garage attached to Sky View Center, at 40-24 College Point Blvd., which will be free for the first three hours this summer.

Another unique aspect of the Sky Foods business model is its focus on healthy foods and having a wide variety of products.

“Our key goal is one-quarter of the food here will be organic. So that’s one difference between this store and other Asian markets,” Jing said. “We want to be like an Asian Whole Foods, we want to offer foods from all over the world.”

But only one organic product — boxed soy milk of a brand often found in other local grocery stores — was on hand Monday, and Sky Foods Project Manager Edward Wu said the store will open with a limited array of organic foods.

With time, the store’s selection of organic foods will grow, Wu said, although the store will not offer organic meats because its market research showed insufficient interest in them among expected customers.

“Right now we’re talking to some farmers to get some organic fruits and vegetables,” Wu said. “When we first open, we won’t have much organic, but our goal is for it to be one-fourth organic.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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