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Little Tokyo Square:


LA's Air-Conditioned Japanese Experience



Forum on Great Asian Malls & Supermarkets

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GREAT ASIAN MALLS & SUPERMARKETS

Little Tokyo Square

Little Tokyo Market Place
333 S. Alameda St (at 3rd St)
Los Angeles,  CA 90013

s of September 2004 Little Tokyo Marketplace (formerly Yaohan Plaza) is undergoing a difficult transition that began even before the failing Yaohan supermarket was absorbed into the Mitsuwa chain, then was bought out by a Korean group. In the early 1990s, as Japan slipped into its 12-year recession, Japanese markets in the U.S. suffered from a massive pullback of expat executives by Japanese corporations. Yaohan, which once made fat margins on liberally compensated Japanese executives, had to scramble for Corean (Korean) and Chinese American consumers just as Asian American chains were building impressive full-service supermarkets. Downtown L.A.'s most vibrant indoor Japanese mall struggled to stay alive on lunch traffic and families making weekend homages to the Sanrio store on the second level. A third of its stores were shuttered in the past year, including the Asahiya bookstore on the ground level and the game arcade on the third level. In 2009 new Corean owners have installed a vastly improved supermarket and remodeled to make the mall brighter and more inviting from 3rd Street, integrating it better into the vibrant Little Tokyo dining scene.






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     A new wave of merchants are setting up in Little Tokyo Mall in hopes of capitalizing on its major advantages — security, roomy four-level parking structure and, for L.A.'s six-month summers, air-conditioning. Five new restaurants and cafés, a karate dojo and a discount clothing store have opened or are about to open. The addition of Han's Bibimbap, Godzilla Sushi and Mei's Lunch Box brings the mall's restaurant total to ten, enough to attract the kinds of crowds that once enjoyed its tastefully understated ambience and unparalleled convenience. The Square is only a block south of Honda Plaza and a block east of the Japanese American Community & Cultural Center. It is now anchored by a Mitsuwa supermarket on the ground level.

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GREAT ASIAN AMERICAN MALLS & SUPERMARKETS

“A new wave of merchants are setting up in Little Tokyo Mall in hopes of capitalizing on its major advantages — security, roomy four-level parking structure and, for L.A.'s six-month summers, air-conditioning.”


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