Uwajimaya Celebrates 80 Years of Business

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Uwajimaya Celebrates 80 Years of Business

A commemorative celebrity cookbook release is one of several promotions family-owned Asian grocer Uwajimaya will hold to mark its 80th anniversary next month - celebrating its evolution from a selection of items displayed on the back of a truck to the three stores and related food businesses the grocer operates today.

The cookbook, which will only be available in-store, will feature favorite Moriguchi family recipes, as well as recipes from local and national celebrities, including Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas, Olympian Apolo Ohno, NBC's Ann Curry, former Seattle Mariner Edgar Martinez, and musician Kenny G. Net proceeds will be donated to the American Diabetes Association.

Beginning October 15, Uwajimaya will also feature cooking demonstrations, along with Asian cultural events and a special anniversary sale.

Fujimatsu Moriguchi started Uwajimaya in 1928, selling fishcakes and rice to Japanese loggers and fishermen in Tacoma. In 1942 the Moriguchis were sent to internment camp and almost lost everything they owned. After World War II, Fujimatsu Moriguchi moved the family to Seattle with only $400 to set up shop on South Main Street in Japantown.

The Moriguchi children took over the company in 1962 when their father passed away. Under their leadership, with Tomio Moriguchi as c.e.o. from 1967 to 2007, Uwajimaya grew to include three stores in the Pacific Northwest and a wholesale, food service, and export company. Last year, the Tomoko Matsuno, the youngest daughter of the Moriguchis', became c.e.o. when her other siblings retired.

Uwajimaya said it had revenues close to $85 million last year, and it plans to add more stores over the next five years as Matsuno grooms the next generation of leaders. Seven third generation Moriguchis currently work for Uwajimaya.

To see the complete history of Uwajimaya, visit: http://www.uwajimaya.com/80th/UwajimayaHistory.html