"I'm disappointed that not so many people have been coming in," Bordbari said. "The neighbors would tell me, 'You should open a market. We need one here.' But now where are they?"
Bordbari, who has lived in Barron Park for 22 years, opened the 4,000-square-foot market on July 20, anticipating heavy traffic from local residents. The closure of other food sources, including the All American Market in 1997 and Albertson's in 2005, had left the area without a place to pick up groceries.
"This is the only store within five miles," Bordbari said.
Bordbari's 18-year-old daughter Maryam, helping out during the summer, thinks the store may gradually fill since "people take a while to change their habits." She wonders if more advertising would help, to supplement the flyers the family has distributed in the neighborhood.
She also hopes that customers from the adjacent nursery, which Bordbari also owns, would come next door.
One certainly did -- market manager William Frazier, who Bordbari hired after hearing of his experience in the food-service industry. Frazier said the store's emptiness stings, especially because Bordbari works so hard.
"He's here from bell to bell, day in and day out. He doesn't take a sick day, ever," Frazier said.
Bordbari hopes this hard work will lead to a family market where "parents can take their kids for an ice cream." Although lacking sticky-faced children from the neighborhood, the market nonetheless has a small-business feel right now. Large planting vases on high shelves above the food hint at previous use as part of the family-owned nursery, while the second-hand shopping carts still say "All American Market."
Morever, Bordbari does not sell alcohol, cigarettes, "or anything I wouldn't want my kids using."
And while the shopping carts may be second-hand, the merchandise is not. The market's specialty is fresh produce, Bordbari said, gesturing to a caddy bearing three types of cherries, among other fruits. He plans to add more organic and kosher items and expand the dried fruit and nuts selection.
Yet he may be unable to if business remains slow.
"Last week I had to throw out almost $600 worth of food, because I won't sell anything that isn't fresh," Bordbari said, adding that he strives to keep food affordable. "We send people out to check prices at other places, and make ours 10 to 15 percent lower."
"These are excellent prices," said the sole shopper last Saturday at noon, who declined to give her name.
Next-to-nothing opening sales are not the only challenge the market has faced. The initial grand opening, slated for May 25, was delayed two months when the county health inspectors required the addition of a sink.
"We bought everything and were all ready to open, but the night before the health department said a sink was needed to help us wash the floors," Bordbari said. "The permit for the sink took 60 days to come."
In these difficult first weeks, there is one silver lining.
"I'm glad I own the property," Bordbari said. "A lessee might be out of business by now."