Closing FBC Letter

11/15/20

Dear FBC Friends/family,


Costco, Covid and Cancer. Due in large part to these factors FBC is closing after 33 years. Kelly and I started FBC in 1987 in our living room in Kobe with the goal of bringing food and fun from home to our friends and fellow expats here in Japan. We grew to have dozens of staff and thousands of members all over Japan. We opened an office in LA in the US and even started a franchise in HK. We were in the news, on TV and in the press on average once a month in our first ten years- CNN, WSJ, Readers Digest- lots of fun and exciting!


Gradually the market changed and with Costco and Amazon and a dramatic increase of western items in Japan at reasonable prices, the need we set out to fill became less. Then the foreign community from western countries started to drop off in Japan and we saw our role in the foreign community diminish. Although we gained more Japanese members during this time it could not make up for the decrease in the foreign expat community.


During all of this I was diagnosed with a severe and aggressive form of cancer in 2012 which has gradually became a limiting factor in my ability to move FBC forward. Finally, after all of this, Covid emerged in early 2020 and I simply did not adjust and adapt quickly enough and now…we’re done. I have to say it is very sad – however, the great memories of thousands of members who became friends and workers who became our extended family make it also, truly, a source of incredibly happy memories. Thank you so much for this.

  

Thanks to all of you who have been part of the FBC Family in various ways.


As always,


Chuck