'Little Asia' just keeps growing
Arizona Business Gazette
Apr. 13, 2006

Chandler site adds related retail space

Luci Scott

Chandler's "Little Asia" just got a little more Asian.

More retail space has been built on the northeastern corner of Dobson and Warner roads, and the spaces soon will be occupied, part of a continuing transformation of the intersection.

"About 90 percent of the leases are owned by people of Asian descent, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean," said John Reva, a retail specialist with Scottsdale brokerage RBI.

The project, developed by Scottsdale-based Global Retail Development Group, will house a Chinese buffet, Vietnamese food to go, a tea shop, a women's accessories store, an insurance office, a store selling blinds, a hair salon, a gelato store, loan company Check & Go and a store selling wigs and hair extensions.

Reva said 4,392 square feet is still available.

The new businesses were lured to that spot mainly because of the anchor, Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket, he said.

"About 2,000 to 3,000 people a day are visiting that place," Reva said. "Obviously, it gives (the new tenants) a great chance to expose themselves to people of their cultural background."

Lee Lee is one of the largest grossing Asian grocers outside of California, he said.

The supermarket is owned by Cambodian immigrant Meng Truong. Near the food market is an acupuncture and Chinese herb business owned by a Korean couple who left Virginia to force their children to learn English.

"In Virginia, there are so many Koreans," said Kyesub Lee. "My kids had no chance to learn English. We wanted to be someplace with less Koreans."

Other businesses in the shopping center are a dentist, Dr. Loa Dao, and a space that will house martial arts classes, Chinese classical dance, Chinese painting and Chinese phonic education.

The Rosewood Furniture Outlet, owned by Hong Kong transplant Tina Jian, sells not only vases, jade items and tables inlaid with mother-of-pearl, but also statues of Buddhas, elephants and dragons. The place rents Chinese videos and DVDs with English subtitles for 50 cents.

"When we started, this shopping center was very slow, but now I think it's the Number 1 busiest," store manager Morgan Zhang said.

The Asian businesses are not limited to the northeastern corner. Directly across Warner is the Vietnamese-owned Lee's Sandwiches, and on the southwestern corner is a Chinese restaurant popular for its dim sum, C-Fu Gourmet.

The businesses lure more than just Asians, and perhaps the corner is better called a little United Nations.

The acupuncturist said he has a lot of Russian customers.

Recent shoppers at Lee Lee, who were stocking up on spices to cook Indian, Chinese and Thai food, were northeast Scottsdale residents Kevin Pugsley, who is British, and his wife, Inga, who is German.

One of the few Anglo business owners left is pet groomer Janet Corlis of Dogs Day Out. She has watched the transformation of the corner.

"The furniture store was a vet, the nail supply place was a dry cleaner and the dentist was pizza," she said.