SAN RAMON — Le Asia, the Tri-Valley's first sizable Asian grocery store, will close today after a 2½-year run in the city.
Located in the Country Club Village Shopping Center at Alcosta Boulevard and Village Parkway, Le Asia has featured fresh seafood, traditional grocery amenities and specialty Asian goods and snacks. It also has offered vendor eateries selling food items from ducks to tea drinks with tapioca.
City Economic Development Director Marc Fontes said he does not know if the store is closing due to the economy or competition. Le Asia representatives did not return calls seeking comment.
The site remains leased to the Kroger retail corporation, which subleased the space to Le Asia. Fontes said the city will be proactive in trying to attract a suitable replacement.
"Our first goal would be to find another grocery store for the site and, if we can't, we would look to find some other retailer that would be a good fit for the city and the neighborhood," he said.
The 55,000-square-foot supermarket, which replaced a Ralphs, opened in August 2007 to cater to the Tri-Valley's growing Asian populace. San Ramon has an Asian population of 7,616 or 17 percent, according the 2000 U.S. Census figures. Dublin's rate was 10.2 percent.
According to figures taken during the 2006-07 school year that revealed much higher percentages of Asians living within the San Ramon Valley and Dublin school districts, the 2010 Census is expected indicate a marked increase in the population.
Local residents seeking Asian foods and specialties can still find them at 99 Ranch Market, which opened two miles away in Dublin shortly after Le Asia opened. The 99 Ranch chain, established in 1984 in Westminster, is preparing to open a second Tri-Valley location in Pleasanton's Rose Pavilion in early April.
The 45,000-square-foot spot undergoing renovations on Santa Rita Road — in the space most recently occupied by Levitz Furniture — will be the chain's 12th store in the Bay Area.
Le Asia is not the only local grocery store closing. Nob Hill Foods, also on Santa Rita Road in Pleasanton, will close March 25. That market has operated in the city since 1986.