Car crash forces Bay Area grocery store to temporarily close – SFGATE

A car crashed into Western Pacific Filipino Grocery, located at 905 E Duane Ave. in Sunnyvale, on Saturday Feb. 25, 2023. 
Western Pacific Filipino Grocery, a decades-old Filipino specialty store in Sunnyvale, has temporarily closed after a driver rammed their car into the storefront.
The Saturday morning incident occurred after a parked driver accidentally stepped on the gas and drove their car into the specialty store, as first reported by KNTV. Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety told SFGATE that the crash at 905 E Duane Ave. occurred around 11:22 a.m. Photos shared with SFGATE by third-generation family owner John Agustin show substantial damage to the main entrance and the store’s interior.
Agustin told SFGATE that he was away from his business at the time of the incident and learned about it when an employee called him and said, “John you need to come now, there’s a car in our store.”
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“I was scared that someone got hurt,” Agustin said. “Everyone walked out alive and well. When I looked at the camera footage there were about five people in that immediate area like five minutes [before the accident].”
Agustin shared that his store is busiest around 11 a.m., but during the time of the wreck, there was just one customer inside. According to Agustin, the force of the crash caused shelves to tip over, which caused store items to fall on the customer. He added that the customer declined medical assistance from the police. Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety told SFGATE that the driver was not issued a citation because no one was injured in the event.
A car crashed into Western Pacific Filipino Grocery, located at 905 E Duane Ave. in Sunnyvale, on Saturday Feb. 25, 2023. 
Agustin is thankful that no one was seriously harmed, but the store will likely be closed through the end of April or the beginning of May. That’s due in part to a special-order door replacement that is anticipated to arrive within eight weeks. Because of concerns about broken glass, dozens of perishable goods will also need to be disposed of.  
After assessing the damage, Agustin estimates that repairs and losses could cost around $60,000 to $70,000. He’s currently waiting to hear back from his insurance to get a clearer estimate. The main concern now is employee retention, he said. During the temporary closure, he plans to pay his staff but is worried that they might seek a new job in the meantime.
Western Pacific Filipino Grocery opened in 1981 under the ownership of Agustin’s grandmother. The next family owner was Agustin’s father, who passed away in 2013. Then, Agustin became the new store owner after spending years growing up in the family business. He said that generations of families have shopped at Western Pacific Filipino Grocery over the years with some driving in from San Jose, Merced, or Stockton.
A car crashed into Western Pacific Filipino Grocery, located at 905 E Duane Ave. in Sunnyvale, on Saturday Feb. 25, 2023. 
What sets Western Pacific Filipino Grocery apart from other Asian markets, Agustin said, is the range of specialty Filipino produce it carries. Customers come far and wide for a selection of bitter melon leaves, malunggay fruit and dragon beans, among other produce. Agustin sources from Filipino farmers. With the store closure, he said customers will now need to drive farther to find other Filipino markets in the Bay Area.
Agustin hopes Western Pacific Filipino Grocery can get back in business soon. After the accident, he thought about his father and the foresight he had nearly 15 years earlier. At the time, Agustin said that a car crashed at a different business at Fair Oaks Plaza, where Western Pacific Filipino Grocery is located, prompting his father to move a hefty rice rack to the front of the store out of caution. His thought was that the rack would act as a barrier in the event of a similar accident at the market. Agustin said that his father’s forethought possibly saved his customer’s life on Saturday.
“My dad thought to move the rice rack 15 years ago,” Agustin said. “He was doing that to protect [my sister and me]. It was the ultimate dad move. When [the Saturday accident] happened, I looked up and thought, ‘You saved someone, dad.’”
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Susana Guerrero is a reporter for SFGATE covering the Bay Area’s food scene. She received an M.A. in journalism from USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and earned a B.A. in English from UC Berkeley. She’s a Bay Area native. Email her at