Long-standing Vietnamese grocery store Duc Loi will be under new ownership starting Aug. 15, according to its current owner, Howard Ngo.
Howard has run the store at Mission and 18th since 1997, alongside his wife Amanda, who is known for cooking massive community Thanksgiving dinners for the neighborhood. He says they’ll miss the Mission.
“I’m here seven days a week,” he said. “This is my home.”
He says Duc Loi will be moving to a new, bigger home in Bayview, at 5900 Third St., where the husband and wife pair attempted to expand in 2016 before closing in 2019 and not reopening throughout the pandemic. Now, Ngo says, they’re ready to reopen there.
The Ngos own the building at 2200 Mission St. and will continue to do so. But in Duc Loi’s place will be International Produce Market, which is owned by Ismael Ahmed through a corporation, Ish’s Community Market.
Ahmed has also owned and operated Evergreen Market nearby, at Mission and 21st, since 2021. Evergreen has been in the neighborhood for around 30 years, its past owner Jeffery Lee told Mission local when he put it up for sale in 2019. The new ownership has put significant work revamping and stocking what is now a large and well-provisioned market.
Ahmed said that while Duc Loi will remain a spot for Asian products, customers can expect “more diverse” options. He said Duc Loi’s famous banh mi sandwich counter, currently operated by current owner Ngo herself, will remain open “with some modifications.”
“We’re open to requests and comments from customers,” he added.
One Duc Loi customer, a Mission lifer who’s been shopping there for 20 years, said he wants its new owners to keep it the same.
“They should keep serving banh mi,” he said. “That’s what people come for.”
Ahmed also said there are no present plans to revive the pre-pandemic tradition of Duc Loi’s Thanksgiving dinners, which attracted hundreds of people who had nowhere else to go for the holiday meal. Amanda Ngo paid for those meals out of her own pocket, saying in 2011 that she did this because “This is my family. This is my home.”
Howard Ngo, 64, said he was excited about Duc Loi’s future in Bayview. The store has been a celebrated neighborhood staple — a 2009 certificate of honor from then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newson hangs in the cramped upstairs office — and Ngo hopes the community will continue to support them in their new location.
Nicole, who works at neighboring restaurant Prubechu, said she’s happy for the couple.
“Good for them,” she said. “I’m gonna miss her.”
Samir, whose family runs City Smoke Shop across the street, said the same: Co-owner Amanda Ngo will be missed.
“She’s been here forever,” he said.