Asian-themed business cluster growing here - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Asian-themed business cluster growing here

July 21st, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Asian-themed business cluster growing here

By Ken Sain
Staff Writer

The number of Asian-themed businesses is increasing around the Chandler Boulevard and Dobson Road intersection.

It’s not by accident.

The increase in Asian-themed businesses is meant to serve the largest growing minority population in Chandler. All the tech industries that have settled in the city have hired employees with the skills they need, and many of them happen to be of Asian descent.

The city’s Asian population has grown from 17,500 in 2011 to nearly 28,000 in 2020. That a jump of 59%. Asian-themed businesses have noticed.

“A lot of the tenants that we were kind of working with, wanted to see a project in Arizona, because that is the market that they want to enter,” said Naoyuki Kondo, a leasing specialist for NewQuest Properties, which manages the Chandler Ranch mall at the corner of Dobson and Chandler Boulevard.

That mall currently has nearly a dozen Asian-themed businesses. There are more in the shopping center across the street. Daiso Japan, Gen Korean BBQ House, and SomiSomi Korean Soft Serve are all scheduled to open soon.

They join the existing businesses and a number of other businesses: Asian Corner Cafe, Ramen Hood, and Kura Sushi. The anchor store of the Chandler Ranch center is 99 Ranch Market, which is an Asian supermarket. Signage inside is in English and Mandarin, and the aisles are filled with both American and Asian products.

“Business has actually been booming,” said Christy Nguyen, the manager of Kura Sushi. “We have a lot of good sales. The Chandler Ranch area is more of an Asian predominant community, but here we’ve been having a lot of diversity.”

Kura Sushi is far from the traditional sit-down sushi bar many people have experienced. It’s meant to be more casual and fun. A robot will bring you your drinks. The sushi goes by your table on a conveyor belt, so if you see something you like, grab it. You can also order another dish, say ramen, and it will be delivered to your table by another conveyor belt straight from the kitchen.

“It’s a very good story to tell when people from California or New York are coming to Arizona, and they got that comfort zone when … when they see a lot of Asian population within the shopping center,” Kondo said. “And what they also see a lot of retailers and restaurants doing well in that corridor.”

Kondo said they began remodeling Chandler Ranch in the early days of the pandemic. Now, they are closing in on 100% occupancy.

“We want to make sure that what we’re providing is serving a community around it,” said Caitlin Jones, the marketing director for NewQuest. “We’re a neighborhood essential and community driven. And those are the types of shopping centers that we really aim to build.”

It would be unfair to say the entire mall is Asian-themed. There’s a Peter Piper Pizza, a Jack In the Box and a new Cajun seafood place opening soon.

But there’s still a lot of Asian left, including a Chinese hotpot restaurant and plans to bring in a Japanese retailer.

“One of the main reasons why we chose Chandler was because of the growth for Asian population,” Kondo said. “This was actually a home run for us where all the biggest variables when it comes to demographics, sales, and just the location, fit perfectly for Chandler Ranch.”


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