Golden World International Market
|Industry||Retail (grocery store)|
March 19, 1963 (as Good Luck Mart/Lucky Mart)|
August 8, 1988 (as Golden World)
8441 Catherine Way
Little Gibraltar, Channel Islands, Sierra
Number of locations
|CAS, France, Tondo, Korea, South Africa, South Vietnam, Thailand, United Kingdom|
|Revenue||$97.2 billion (2016)|
|$1.2 billion (2016)|
|Total assets||$30.5 billion (2016)|
|Total equity||$7.4 billion (2016)|
Number of employees
|Slogan||Good luck will follow you|
|Golden World International Market|
|Hanyu Pinyin||Xìngyùn huárén chāoshì|
|Literal meaning||Lucky Chinese Supermarket|
|Vietnamese||Siêu Thị Thế Giới Vàng|
Golden World International Market, Inc. (also simply known as Golden World or Gold Mart, Simplified Chinese: 幸运华人超市) is an Asian-Sierran supermarket chain. Founded by Channelier-Chinese entrepreneur François Pierre-Cheng, the company is headquartered in Little Gibraltar, Channel Islands, and was originally founded as Good Luck Mart in 1963, and then shortly after, Lucky Mart when its first store opened in the city of Avalon. It is the largest Asian retailer in Sierra, and is the fourth largest retail company based in Sierra. As of September 2016, it employs over 70,000 and operates 389 supermarkets in Sierra, and other Anglo-American countries including Astoria, Brazoria, and Superior, as well as France, Korea, South Africa, South Vietnam, Tondo, and the United Kingdom.
The company was originally conceived by founder François Pierre-Cheng, who wanted to provide affordable, quality produce and groceries to Asian-Sierran families, while also selling Anglo-American products as a consumer-inclusive marketplace. Pierre-Cheng successfully capitalized on creating stores located in predominantly Asian neighborhoods, and frequently opened stores alongside other Asian-owned businesses at local power centers. In addition to providing groceries, many Lucky Mart stores featured in-store restaurants, insurance broker stores, travel agencies, pharmacies, and small health clinics. Pierre-Cheng expanded operations into the Sierran mainland, opening his first store in Rowland Heights, Gold Coast in 1969. Over the next 20 years, Lucky Mart spread throughout the Southwest Corridor, and by 1988, when the company was renamed as Golden World International Market, there were already over 50 locations.
Some locations have since diversified, selling technology, furniture, and gas, and the company introduced the "Lucky Points" system, allowing shoppers to pay an annual subscription-based fee in order to purchase rarer items, and access to exclusive services, including discounted vacations. Originally carrying predominantly Chinese products, and servicing to Mandarin-speaking Chinese, Golden World has since broadened its stock and market focus, selling Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Tondolese, and Thai products and services, with stores based around the general ethnic markup around a particular location. In addition to having a strong consumer base, Golden World has emphasized on maintaining a strong relationship with its employees. The average starting wage Golden World pays is $10.50 per hour, higher than most federally and provincially mandated minimum wages. The majority of Golden World's employees are unionized, and are represented by the Allied Commercial Retailers Union (ACRU).
Due to its rigorous and aggressive business practices, Golden World has traditionally been associated with the development of strong Asian-Sierran communities, with its reputation as serving as a focal point for Asian communities, attracting other Asian businesses as an anchor, and consequently, bringing in predominantly Asian customers to a particular location. This sociological phenomenon has been called "Golden honeypot", with the growth of Asian communities within a particular town or neighborhood preceded by the establishment of a Golden World store. Golden World has, on occasion, attracted controversy and criticism, namely on its hiring policies, several food recalls, and contribution towards ethnic gentrification in Hispanic and black communities.
From 2001 to 2021, Golden World International Market was traded publicly on the Porciúncula Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GWI. Due to rising costs and debt, Golden World was taken private in a leveraged buyout by McCarthy Investments in 2022.
In 1963, François Pierre-Cheng, a Channelier-Chinese businessman, who owned several Asian-themed restaurants and stores purchased a former warehouse from the Avalon Holdings Company in Avalon, and refurnished the warehouse to become a supermarket known as Good Luck Mart. He quickly changed the name to Lucky Mart to avoid confusion with the popular Good Luck Cafe that was also located in Avalon at the time. Pierre-Cheng envisioned an accessible Asian market which would cater to the Channels' Asian community, in particular, the Chinese, and desired to do so with affordable pricing, and efficient service. In addition, he noticed how many on the islands typically could not speak French or English, and especially among the elderly, and noticed that this led to difficulties in obtaining basic services from dental care to getting insurance. In order to mitigate this, he formed partnerships with local Chinese-speaking professionals who were willing to relocate their businesses next to Pierre-Cheng's Lucky Mart.
The first Lucky Mart, which continues to operate to this day in Avalon, included an optometrist, a French-style bistro, a traditional Chinese medicinal shop, a massage parlor, and, very briefly, an opium den. The original establishment included an open-air section, with the space it formerly occupied becoming converted into a parking lot structure since then. Sales kept increasing annually, as both Chinese and non-Chinese customers alike came to the store in search for Asian products, which were in demand in the later stages of the decades-lasting Sierran Cultural Revolution.
Highly successful in Avalon, Pierre-Cheng opened another Lucky Mart in Two Harbors, and another in New Bourbon, where there were not as many Chinese residents in the respective areas. Predicting that the uniqueness and "exoticism" that his own stores possessed would attract the predominantly French-speaking white residents, the Lucky Mart stores in these two new locations were also quite successful, and Pierre-Cheng experimented with selling more traditional French food and products, with wine in particular focus. Using the profit he amassed from Lucky Mart and other business ventures, Pierre-Cheng traveled to the mainland, visiting several major Chinese communities for the location of his first mainland store. After a few months of searching, he obtained a lease from a local contractor, and opened Lucky Mart in the City of Rowland Heights in the Gold Coast.
At the Rowland Heights location, he replicated the model he had created in Avalon, which was to ensure that Lucky Mart was to be surrounded by Asian businesses and stores in their own retail center, and stores which were diversified and unlikely to compete with each other. Partnering with the center's owners, Pierre-Cheng rebranded the center as the 859 Asian Oriental Garden Emporium, renovating the center with modern, Chinese-inspired architecture, and hoped that it could become the premiere choice of shopping for local residents. Incredibly successful, earning more returns than all three locations in the Channels combined, Pierre-Cheng shifted his full attention towards expanding, seeking other communities such as Ramona Hills, Tripoli, and Porciúncula Chinatown. Over the next 10 years, Pierre-Cheng carefully picked where each of his new locations were to be opened at, and decided to go public, and to begin franchising. Selling stores to local franchisees, the franchise owners and store managers who oversaw their Lucky Marts adopted Pierre-Cheng's model and strategies.
At the turn of the 1980s, Lucky Mart had become a household name among Sierrans throughout the Southwest Corridor, and the first store was opened in San Francisco City. Hoping to shift away from focusing just Chinese customers to a more Pan-Asian base, the corporate leadership of Lucky Mart, under CEO Simon Liu, experimented with stores in non-Chinese Asian areas including Sarangnha (a Korean-Vietnamese community) and Irvine (a town with significant Korean and Japanese communities). The stores which were opened were the first to use the name "Golden World", and downplayed its Sinocentric emphasis, and highlighted specific ethnic and cultural needs and niches. The experiments proved successful, and by 1988, all Lucky Mart stores were rebranded as Golden World, and the company was renamed as the Golden World International Market Incorporated. Subsequently, the company became publicly traded and listed on the Porciúncula Stock Exchange through the Von Holt 500 Composite Index under the symbol, GWI.
Over the years, Golden World has become Anglo-America's largest Asian supermarket chain, and the fourth largest retailer of any kind in Sierra. By the 1990s, it had its own production and logistics centers, processing factories, and farms, and introduced its own house brand, Golden Star, and more general Anglo-American products including cereals, canned soups, and perishables. It also introduced gasoline stations at select locations, and rolled out the Lucky Points system in 2009 in hopes of maintaining strong consumer loyalty. Since 2015, it has underwent talks with merging with Krahns, another Sierran retail company, although talks have been delayed due to concerns that a merger would stifle competition and lead to higher prices, by monopolizing both Asian and general retail bases. Since 1990, after it opened its first international store in Houston, Brazoria. Golden World has expanded its operations to 16 other countries worldwide, with over 75 stores, and current plans to continue expanding, including new countries, possibly China and those in South America.
Most Golden World stores and affiliates are located in suburban Asian communities, although, in more urban areas, stores are located in neighborhood districts which reflect a highly heterogenous, cosmopolitan population. Locations are strategically placed near residential neighborhoods, and at the epicenter of retail shopping centers, typically along a busy road to maximize visibility and accessibility. A few locations, especially those in Porciúncula or in Houston are modified and integrated into skyscrapers or large-scale malls with multiple floors. In less densely populated areas, such as those in the Styxie, it is common for Golden World stores to simply have a big-box store structure, with no other external businesses within its own lot.
Most Golden World stores are company-owned, although during the 1970s and 80s, many stores were opened as franchises, and more commonly found in multi-ethnic communities such as Sarangnha. Only the years, Golden World has begun the process of completely regaining full ownership over these franchises.
Store layout and offerings
Most Golden World locations are built and laid out similarly to other Anglo-American supermarkets, although retains some unique features ubiquitous in Asian supermarkets, including tanks with live, purchasable fish and shellfish, and religious idols on display from Chinese folk religion, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even statuettes of Catholic saints. Aisles are typically of standard length and width, although certain sections may be segregated from the main part of the store, including the businesses of tenants occupying Golden World's rental spaces, and physically separated (through a wall) liquor stores in some PSAs due to local laws. The front side of the store is typically oriented similarly to a strip mall, with the smaller businesses (ranging from travel agencies to foreign film rentals to tutoring centers) only accessible by physically entering the main store through the front entrance. In addition, unlike most Anglo-American stores, the meat and seafood sections are separated, and are often located perpendicularly from each other (the meat section on the back end, and the seafood section on the left side of the front entrance). Generally, within the store, there is also a restaurant and a bakery. The most common restaurant is the store-brand Ten Zen, which specializes in dumplings, rice dishes, and boba.
At some locations, due to the religious climate of a community, local Golden World stores have made accommodations to ensure that its butcheries and seafood sites are halal or kosher-certified, and may even have two separate butcheries to ensure that halal or kosher meats or seafood is kept separate from those which are considered haram or treif. Aside from meats, some stores carry a significantly large vegetarian and vegan product lineups, as well as gluten-free and non-GMO products. Typically, a special part of the store is specifically demarcated, but not necessarily separated from the rest, to accommodate its vegetarian and vegan customers.
For several locations, there are also gas stations, which may either be directly owned by the company or the franchise, or under a leased contract with Petram or Sierrco. Historically, Golden World gas stations were located on the far-side of the retail center, next to an intersection, but newer locations have placed the gas station directly adjacent to the store, with a convenience store located within the main store itself. A few of the gas stations also have a full-service, automated car wash.
Aside from its own flagship chain, Golden World, the company owns several other chains, with the two most prominent ones: Happy Mart and XYZ Supermarket, tailored towards Korean and Vietnamese shoppers respectively. Structurally, these chains are similar to Golden World and may even have the same intra-store scheme which is prevalent in standard Golden World stores, with rental spaces accommodated for local ethnic-based businesses and services. These locations typically carry more brands favored by either group, with more Korean and Japanese products sold at Happy Mart, and more Southeast Asian and Vietnamese products sold at XYZ Supermarket.
- Cheng's Super Markets (United Commonwealth)
- Happy Mart (Sierra: Clark, Gold Coast, Laguna, Orange, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Joaquin; Korea)
- Golden World (Sierra: Clark, Channel Islands, Gold Coast, Hawaii, Honolulu, Inland Empire, Kings, Laguna, Maricopa, Oahu, Orange, Plumas, Reno, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Shasta, Tahoe, Wasatch, Washumko; France, South Africa, United Kingdom)
- Mandarins (Astoria, Brazoria, Superior)
- Pacific City Market (Tondo)
- XYZ Supermarkets (Sierra: Clark, Gold Coast, Laguna, Orange, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Joaquin; South Vietnam, Thailand)
Golden Star is Golden World's standard and most common house brand, and covers a wide range of products from water bottles to fish sauce to rice paper. The brand abides by the "Golden Rule" which maintains that if the customer is not satisfied with the product they purchased, they can be reimbursed with a similar brand or given a full refund within 30 days of purchase. Golden Star Value is branded with staple products such as rice and flour, and is cheaper than standard Golden Star products, but do not carry the "Golden Rule" promise.
Silk Road is Golden World's premium store brand, and includes higher-quality, pricier gourmet items on store. Prepackaged lean, organic, antibiotic-free meats and fish are often sold under this label, and carry the guarantee that the product is superior quality to its standard counterparts, and also maintains the "Golden Rule".
Other private brands
- French Quarter – French dishes, European pastries, wine
- Marco Polo Selections – Anglo-American deli, pasta, potato sides, fried chicken, burgers, hot dogs
- Tenzen – bread, cake, coffee, tea, Asian pastries
- Happy Cow – milk by the gallon, butter, cheese (Happy Mart, Golden World, XYZ Supermarkets)
- Spring Mountain Ranch – milk by the gallon, butter, cheese (Cheng's Super Markets, Mandarins, Pacific City Mart)
All Golden World stores house at least one restaurant, with the majority owned by the store itself, although at much larger locations, several independently owned restaurants may be based in the store on a lease agreement. The most common restaurant of operation is Golden World's Ten Zen, a self-serve bakery and restaurant where customers can choose a variety of breads and pastries, or dine in for their special baguette sandwiches, Anglo-American Chinese dishes, soups, and boba tea. Ten Zen carries up to 60 different varieties, which include Chinese, Danish, French, and Han-styled flavors. Cakes, cheese bites, custard, crème brûlée, and taro-flavored bread are popular selections.
Other Golden World restaurants include Yang's Dumpling Shop which specializes on potstickers and fried foods, along with rice and noodle dishes such as beef udon, and Macau World, which may sell seafood dishes ranging from lobster to oysters. Few Golden World restaurants may also have a hibachi or sushi bar, and provide samples to customers. At "Super" Golden Worlds, the majority of them in densely populated urban areas, there may even be a proper food court, offering choices including dim sum, assorted hot box (including Salsi shawarma), hot pot, pho, and Korean BBQ.
Most Golden World locations have now included affiliated gas stations, which are open to all customers, and may include either automatic or self-serve car washes, and a convenience store. Most gasoline stations provide (R+M)/2 octane ratings of 87 (Regular), 89 (Mid-Grade), and 91 (Premium). Some larger Golden Worlds also sell an octane rating of 94 (Supreme). At locations where liquor cannot be sold inside the main building, they are typically found at the gas station convenience store, which may carry other items including tobacco and marijuana products.
Nearly all Golden Worlds have their own pharmacy as well as a shop or section in the store that sells licensed Chinese traditional medicine. Golden World carries both Western and Eastern medicine, and also sells a variety of health related products and equipment including acupuncture and cupping kits.
Golden World is partnered with China Star and Asian Global Travel in providing affordable travel offers and packages to its customers including flight trips, cruises, and bus tours throughout the Asia-Pacific, the Americas, and in Europe. Golden World's partners offer Lucky Points subscribing customers discounted pricing on car rentals, hotel bookings, and guided tours as well.
Golden World is partnered with Blue Bird Learning Center, which is a private tutoring agency that teaches mathematics, English, science, and history. Some Blue Bird Learning Centers also provide lessons and language classes in Chinese (in both Mandarin and Cantonese), Korean, or Vietnamese, depending on the location. All instructors and staff operate independently from the Golden World management, and are separately assessed and accredited by the local government. Golden World customers with an active Lucky Points system card are able to pay for Blue Bird services at cheaper pricing, and have priority over non-cardholding members and walk-in clients.
The Global Initiative for Food Security (GIFS) is a non-profit charity organization founded by Golden World founder François Pierre-Cheng to combat hunger in impoverished parts of the world, including poor communities through Anglo-America. About 5% of all sales on Golden World produce and restaurant bills are donated to GIFS. GIFS is partnered with a wide spectrum of other charities and organizations, as well as government agencies in addressing the issue of world hunger and poverty. After the 2017 Pawnee earthquake, Golden World directly donated $30 million in relief aid. In addition, all stores also have charity boxes to smaller organizations. In 2013, customers worldwide donated about $2.1 million through in-store donations, mostly in the form of pocket change.
Studies have suggested that the opening and presence of Golden World in certain communities, particularly those in the Southwest Corridor, and the Styxie, has had a profound impact on local competition and local socioeconomic makeup. A Mulholland University study suggested that the introduction of Golden World in middle-class communities tend to decrease sales of local businesses, particularly, other Asian businesses, by 40% and, although consumer spending and volume tends to increase by 15% five years after opening. The Royal Bureau of Labor and Economics showed in a 2009 study that Golden World locations often led to gentrification in poorer communities, and displaced the original neighborhood's population, who typically were African and Hispanic families, in favor of more affluent Asian and white families. The Foundation of Economic Relations concurred in a 2011 study however, stating that Golden World has indirectly produced more jobs and helped local businesses on the long-run, through the market's leasing program, and tendency to attract more residents into previously undeveloped or underdeveloped areas.
In 2014, three men, two black and one Hispanic, filed a civil suit against Golden World, accusing them of discrimination, claiming that the company proactively resisted having a more multiracial staff that reflected "core Sierran values", and accused the store of deliberately catering to the Asian market exclusively and unconditionally, despite Golden World's presence in various communities, including those in predominantly white, Hispanic, or black towns, and attempt to broaden its coverage of products which may not necessarily be Asian in nature. In a statement released by Golden World, it "never once screens individuals on the account of race, or for any other groups for that matter either including gender and sexual orientation", and that it purely hires individuals on the account of "skill, expertise, and eagerness to serve", and that it would investigate any individual cases of discrimination at local stores. They stated, "the incidence of there being a disproportionate amount of Asian employees at Golden World translates to the mere fact that Golden Worlds tend to be located in Asian communities with a particular focus on such markets". It claimed that although it is an Asian supermarket, it is "indispensably and undeniably catered to people of all races and colors--it is truly an international market that welcomes all". Golden World also pointed out that over half of its corporate leadership, as well as stockholders were non-Asian, and one of its regional directors, was an African American Sierran. Over one fourth of its own workers were of Hispanic or black descent as well, with most accounting for Golden World's butcher and fishing shops, and a great deal of which whom work as produce departments. In the Styxie, white Sierrans accounted for nearly 65% of Golden World employees.
Prior to 1989, applicants were required to understand and speak Mandarin or Cantonese Chinese competently, in order to be hired, a requirement that was struck down by the Superior Court of San Gabriel in the Jones v. Golden World case, when Mitch Jones, a white Sierran, filed a civil suit and a complaint claiming he was unlawfully denied employment on the account of linguistic discrimination. Since then, although knowledge of a Chinese language is preferable, it itself has no impact on the hiring process.