Why Did a Popular Kelvin Grove Asian Supermarket Close?

Asian Supermarket
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Patrons of a popular Asian supermarket in Kelvin Grove have lost their go-to shop for tofu and instant noodles following the closure of Universal Asian Supermarket on Musk Avenue.

Located within the Universal Plaza, the store was a frequent stop for international students from the nearby QUT Kelvin Grove campus. Sales have apparently dropped due to the pandemic lockdown and travel restrictions that saw a decrease in the number of foreign students living in the area.  

The Australian Bureau of Statistics cited that the arrival of foreign students in the country dropped to an astounding 99 percent in January 2021 compared to January 2020 since borders were completely shut down. 

Thus, in early April 2021, the Kelvin Grove Asian supermarket permanently closed its doors. The South Bank outlet followed a few weeks later, citing the impact of COVID-19.

Concerned locals, however, left a sign on the door of the Kelvin Grove store indicating that, aside from the economic impact of COVID-19, the owner had a dispute with his landlord and also failed to address customer complaints about the loyalty system.

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Photo Credit: Google Maps

The owner of the supermarket has yet to address the allegations. The store’s official website is still live with a simple message saying that it will be back.

According to a retail expert, Universal Asian Supermarket had the best location in the QUT precinct and it specifically catered to a niche market. However, since the number of Asian students is down to zero, it’s not surprising that the business had to close. 

This also highlights how some niche markets are vulnerable to the changing economy brought on by the pandemic. Businesses around universities, which used to benefit from a lot of foot traffic, are currently challenged by the pandemic restrictions.