"If something's not selling, I try to figure out why instead of just taking it off the shelf, or I mark the price down," he said. "If you just give up, you'll never make it in an international market."
"B.J.'s definitely a genius," said David Ponomar, a local Russian media mogul who attended Yu's 10th anniversary open house Dec. 18. "The produce is fresh, the service is nice and the prices really good -- we buy shrimp all the time. My wife wanted to make miso soup, and one of B.J.'s employees gave us a recipe and helped us find the ingredients. There's only one Russian store that competes with him."
These days, Yu doesn't have to do all the work himself. He has managers to help him. But that doesn't stop him from putting in 14 hours a day at the Rancho Cordova store. His wife and two kids still live in Oakland. Yu typically gets into his black Porsche Carrera around 11 p.m. and heads to the house in Gold River where he bunks with four of his managers.
"I'll take home a bottle of Gangnam soju, some rice and Russian smoked pork ribs," he said. "You eat that with kimchi, oh my God! I'm good to go!"