Dec. 10, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A Japanese market that closed in August after a fire ripped through its storefront – and several other adjoining businesses – is set to reopen at a new location in Sunnyside with the help of a resident-backed GoFundMe campaign.
Taiyo Foods, a grocery and convenience store, will open before Christmas on the southeast corner of 43rd Avenue and 42nd Street. The opening comes more than four months after a fire burned down the company’s former premises on 44th Street near Queens Boulevard.
The company is moving into a space at 42-02 43rd Ave. which was previously occupied by Organic Gourmet Deli, according to its owner Toshiaki Takahashi, known locally as Taka. The business offers fresh fruit and vegetables as well as imported Japanese products such as dried fruit and snacks.
Takahashi, 45, a Woodside resident who is originally from Japan, said that a GoFundMe fundraiser is helping him finance the reopening of his business.
The GoFundMe, which was started by a customer and friend of Takahashi hours after the blaze, has brought in more than $31,000 with more than 400 residents chipping in. Takahaski said that the donations are key to reopening the store and are being used to renovate the new space.
“So many people have helped me,” Takahaski said. “I really appreciate it and want to thank everybody. I have a lot of good neighbors.”
The blaze broke out inside an adjoining store at around 7:20 a.m. on Aug. 12 and quickly spread to several other businesses housed in the same building. A preliminary investigation by the FDNY initially suggested that the fire erupted inside Taiyo Foods, but the final report stated the blaze was caused by an electrical issue inside Bajeko Sakuwa Himalayan Grill, located at 43-16 Queens Blvd.
More than 200 fire and EMS personnel responded to the four-alarm fire which caused all of the affected storefronts to immediately close down.
Takahaski said that it was too costly to repair and reopen the 44th Street location given the severity of the fire damage. A resident alerted him to the space on 43rd Avenue so he decided to open there instead.
He said rent is higher at the new 700 square feet premises, despite being about 300 square feet smaller than the 44th Street location.
“Rent is very expensive but a lot of customers are waiting for me, that is why we have to reopen as soon as possible,” he said.
Takahaski is renovating the interior of the space and said he is working hard to open before the holidays.
The new store will offer the same items as the old spot such as groceries, hardware products and beauty products.
Opening hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Sundays. Takahaski said he hopes to extend those hours once the store is fully up and running.