DUBLIN — A popular supermarket specializing in Asian groceries, seafood and produce will open its doors to Tri-Valley residents in August.

99 Ranch Market will occupy the abandoned building that once housed a Ralphs supermarket in Dublin's downtown shopping district. It will be the chain's ninth Bay Area Store, said David Lee, CEO of Welcome Market Inc., which operates the 99 Ranch Markets in Northern California and Washington. One of those stores is in Richmond; another in Milpitas.

The building at 7333 Regional St. is being remodeled to accommodate the new store, Lee said, promising the building will look brand new. At about

30,000 square feet, the Dublin store will be one of the chain's smaller outlets.

The store's items also may be brand new for some Dublin residents. It will stock domestic and imported Asian groceries as well as meat, fresh produce and live seafood — an item the chainis famous for. There will also be a hot deli and bakery.

"I think the community will like it," Lee said ... We want to serve the community," Lee said.

The Tri-Valley's growing Asian population piqued the interest of the chain in opening a location here.

According to Dublin's economic development director, the chain had been talking with the city during the last few months about moving into the old Ralphs.

In the last few years, Dublin, San Ramon and other Tri-Valley cities have drawn many Asian families to the new homes built in east Dublin and San Ramon's Dougherty Valley.

"Every day people are calling, asking when it will open," Lee said.

Dublin Mayor Janet Lockhart said she was glad to hear that another grocery store will be moving into the old building.

She said she has not shopped at 99 Ranch before but looks forward to visiting the Dublin location when it opens.

The store will "bring new products to the community that we haven't seen before," said Lockhart. "I think that's exciting."

99 Ranch will be the second market with an emphasis on Asian products and seafood to announce its arrival in town.

Next month, Alcosta Market — an independent Asian grocery store — is expected to open up in San Ramon on Alcosta Boulevard and Village Parkway, taking the place of where another Ralphs store once operated. The market is owned by Paul Yee, who runs about a dozen markets in the Chinatown districts of Oakland and San Francisco.

There also are plans to bring the upscale Asian grocery Marina Market to a proposed shopping center off El Charro Road in northeast Pleasanton, on the Staples Ranch property.

99 Ranch opened its first store in 1984 in the Southern California city of Westminster. In the last 23 years, the chain has grown to include 24 stores in California and Washington. The chain also has independent licensed stores in Nevada and in Indonesia

The Dublin store will employ about 100 people, who must be fluent in English and Chinese, Lee said.

Contact Sophia Kazmi at (925) 847-2122 or skazmi@cctimes.com.