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Rideau Spotlight: SUKOSHI MART 

July 4, 2024

Earlier this year, we celebrated Asian Heritage Month in Ottawa’s Original Downtown by highlighting the many Asian businesses that can be found in the downtown core – you can read our blog about it here

 Suffice it to say that Rideau is proud to host a wide variety of retail stores and restaurants that represent every corner of Asia, from China to Korea to Japan as well as many more countries. Our Asian goods stores add a ton of character and charm to the area with their fascinating lineup of products and colourful décor. Shops like Mergi Shop are the perfect place to find food items and other products you’ve never seen or tried before, and Axia Station’s wall-to-wall skill crane machines make it one of the most unique spots in the area! 

Recently, we were fortunate enough to welcome one such store into our family of businesses here in Ottawa’s Original Downtown! SUKOSHI MART officially opened their doors in March and have been generating major amounts of excitement amongst shoppers at the CF Rideau Centre ever since. With a wide selection of snacks, cosmetics, lifestyle products and more on their shelves, SUKOSHI MART never fails to deliver on their promise of bringing joys both big and small to their customers.  

With its vibrant décor, the vibe at SUKOSHI MART matches the unique and fascinating products that they carry on their store shelves. 

The Little Things that Everyone Loves 

Chances are that at some point in your life, you’ve probably enjoyed some aspect of Asian culture. It could be the noodle shop you like to visit down the street, the shows you like to watch on Netflix or the music that fills up most of your playlists on Spotify. There’s no question that much of the world has a long-standing appreciation for the cultures of Asia, and this was the driving force behind the opening of SUKOSHI MART’s first location in Toronto’s Kensington Market back in 2018. Since then, the store has expanded to seven locations across the Greater Toronto Area and, most recently, the CF Rideau Centre. 

“Our community is always asking us to expand to areas outside of the GTA,” says Lexi Attard, SUKOSHI MART’s Marketing Partnership Specialist. “We saw so much excitement and requests to expand to the Ottawa region and we always want to listen to our customer-base.” 

When stepping inside the store, the reason for all the excitement becomes abundantly clear. Like many similar stores in Rideau, SUKOSHI MART has gone to great lengths to ensure that its décor is as welcoming and captivating as possible. From wood laminate floors to brightly coloured paint jobs and shelves stocked from floor to ceiling with fascinating products of all kinds, simply browsing the aisles of SUKOSHI MART is an experience in and of itself. There’s even a skill crane you can use to test your luck! 

“Inspired by the concept of ‘a small and certain happiness,’” Lexi explains, “we create spaces that instantly fill you up with joy the moment you step through our doors.” 

SUKOSHI MART fulfills its promise of carrying “a little bit of everything” not just on the shelves, but in their skill crane as well. Try your luck and see if you’re a winner! 

Small Products, Big Smiles 

That guiding principle of “a small and certain happiness” is evident that the store does and strives to be, right down to their name. “The word ‘su·ko·shi’ is Japanese for ‘a little,’” Lexi says. “We carry a little bit of everything exciting in the world of Asian beauty and lifestyle. Our mission is to bring joys, big and small, to our customers.” 

What kinds of items does SUKOSHI MART carry in store? Just about anything you can imagine! Snack foods, table lamps, plushie dolls, K-POP, instant meals, toys, cosmetics – the list goes on! You can be certain that when you make a trip to SUKOSHI MART, you’ll find something that fits your needs and appeals to your tastes. The store does not merely collect items in abundance for its own sake, either; the items on SUKOSHI MART’s shelves have been carefully curated to serve customer demand and ensure product quality.  

“Our mission is to constantly stay ahead of the Asian market trends and bring them to North America. Much of the inspiration for new products comes from our own SUKOSHI MART team, who are very passionate about the products and brands that we carry.”  

It’s easy to be passionate about products that place such a high emphasis on quality. For example, markets in North America have become increasingly aware of the quality of Asian cosmetics. These products take a unique approach with respect to their manufacture and application, and they are proudly carried in store at SUKOSHI MART.  

“The Western market has increasingly recognized the value of Korean and Japanese skincare, as well as the scientific difference that skincare makes. K-Beauty emphasizes a preventative approach rather than quick fixes for skin concerns. By prioritizing natural and simple ingredients that truly deliver results, there’s a reason why Western customers are opting for K-Beauty. 

Also, the store’s unique inventory inspires passion as it brings people together who have a shared interest in Asian pop culture and products. SUKOSHI MART has already begun to capitalize on this by organizing in-store events. These include Exclusive Shopping Experiences, Personal Colour Analyses, Blind Box Trading Events, Genshin Impact Cosplay Events, Influencer Meet and Greets and more!  

“It’s meaningful to us to bring our niche community together through these in-store events,” Lexi explains. “Our customers feel accepted and have fun bonding over their favourite pop-culture elements. We plan to continue elevating our events at different store locations in the ongoing and near future!” 

From plush toys to cosmetics to food items, everything at SUKOSHI MART is a reflection of the eclecticism and distinctiveness of Asian culture. 

Bringing a Taste of Asia to the Nation’s Capital 

It can be surprising to consider just how many food items are exclusively available in Asian countries and how different they can seem to foods one might be accustomed to in North America. Visit the snacks section in SUKOSHI and you’ll be astounded to see items like Lay’s Stew Pork-Flavoured Potato Chips, banana bubble gum and Cookies & Cream Pocky Sticks. Trying new things and expanding one’s palette is part of the adventure at SUKOSHI and has proven to be popular with those who are familiar with such products and newcomers alike. 

“What we see as unconventional might be natural progression for Asian food companies, especially if they want to stay ahead of the game,” Lexi explains. “Sometimes you don’t want a whole meal but crave the flavour, so you grab a crab-flavoured bag of chips or red bean flavoured gummies. It’s exactly the boldness in these experiments that make us as Western consumers wonder ‘Why?’ and then ‘I want to try this!’” 

And while Western consumers will find themselves enthralled with such novel choices when browsing food items, customers with family ties to Asian countries often find themselves reminiscing about home. It’s a powerful emotion that few other stores can provide to their clientele. “These product lines are not only outside of the box but are also reminiscent of home,” Lexi says. “Our customers and event goers often express how grateful they are to be able to purchase items they’d otherwise have to travel or pay hefty shipping fees to get.” 

“We want our store to feel like a slice of home. Our customers can find comfort and familiarity in our spaces.” 

In doing so, SUKOSHI MART aspires to position itself as one of the most essential providers of products that have fostered a devoted customer following that shows no signs of relenting any time soon. “Asian pop culture has always been a pillar of the future in the consumer market,” Lexi proudly asserts. “With their innovative offerings and forward-thinking approach, they are a significant cultural force. There’s a remarkable shift of diverse communities actively seeking representation in the mainstream market after years of being overlooked.” 

“At SUKOSHI MART, we’re proud to be part of this vital societal change.” 

Trying the food items at SUKOSHI MART is an exercise in expanding one’s palette and discovering bold new flavours and textures. 

📍 50 Rideau Street, 1st floor 

Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. 

Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. 

📞 (613) 860-6866 

🖱️ sukoshimart.com