Wegmans Sued Over Fish Market at NYC Store

East Village business claims companies unlawfully shared its secrets with grocer
Wegmans Sakanaya Fish Market Main Image
One of the star attractions at Wegmans' Astor Place store in New York City is Sakanaya, an authentic Japanese-style fish market that features product flown in regularly from Tokyo.

A recent lawsuit contends that the fish market located within Wegmans’ Astor Place store in New York City is a knock-off of East Village fish and sushi business Osakana, according to a published report.

In a suit filed this week in New York County Supreme Court, Osakana owner Yuji Haraguchi alleges that three companies – Culimer USA, Red Shell Sushi and Culinary Collaborations – learned his business’ secrets as they sought to buy it and then shared those secrets with Wegmans, local news station PIX11 reported. 

The Astor Place store opened to much fanfare this past October. One of its star attractions is Sakanaya, an authentic Japanese-style fish market that features product flown in regularly from Tokyo.

However, Haraguchi claims that Sakanaya bears an “uncanny and confusingly similar resemblance” to his business on nearby St. Marks Place. He attributes this similarity to the businesses that were looking to purchase Osakana, instead taking his confidential information to the grocery store chain. Haraguchi is seeking at least $1 million from the suit. 

Under a nondisclosure agreement, Haraguchi provided confidential information with Culinary Collaborations, which was also involved in Sakanaya’s opening a few months later, and Red Shell Sushi, the suit contends. After Sakanaya opened, Haraguchi sent a draft purchase agreement, but the interested companies suddenly declined to buy Haraguchi’s business with no explanation, according to the lawsuit.

“It is clear that, among other things, defendants are not interested in keeping their word, or competing fairly,” Haraguchi’s lawyers noted in the lawsuit. “Rather, they would rather make millions by ripping off the life’s work of Mr. Haraguchi, a minority business owner.”

Wegmans, Culinary Collaborations, Culimer USA and Red Shell Sushi haven’t responded to PIX11’s request for comment.

With its 53,000-plus employees, family-owned Wegmans operates more than 100 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and Massachusetts. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company is No. 37 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named Wegmans a Top Regional to watch in 2023 and one of its 10 Most Sustainable Grocers.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds