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Store, Market Open in Little Tokyo Square : Bowling Alley, Coffee Shop, Video Parlor, Lounge Slated Next

September 29, 1985

Yaohan, a market/department store chain in the Orient and Costa Rica, has opened its first department store in the United States, along with a market, in Little Tokyo Square on Alameda Street between 3rd and 4th streets.

The opening also marks the first business to open at Little Tokyo Square, the newest shopping, dining and entertainment center in the Japanese area. Tokyo Bowl, with 40 bowling lanes and a coffee shop, lounge and video-game parlor open 24 hours a day is due to open next.

Then the third phase, consisting of shops and restaurants, will open by November. That will complete the three-level, totally enclosed center.

Other Markets in U.S.

Yaohan has two other market locations in the United States--one in Torrance, another in Fresno--but the Little Tokyo operation is its largest, with 40,000 square feet stocked with American and Asian foods. The market occupies the first floor of the Little Tokyo site, and a 40,000-square-foot department store occupies the second floor.

Goods offered in the department store include clothing, shoes, toys, housewares, linens, videos, cameras, watches, jewelry, cosmetics and gifts, all from Japan. The Little Tokyo store will employ more than 200 people.

Chain is Widespread

The chain was founded more than 40 years ago in Japan by the Wada family, which started with one grocery store. Now there are Yaohan markets and department stores all over Japan as well as in Singapore, Hong Kong and Costa Rica.

To mark its Little Tokyo opening, Yaohan donated $50,000 to the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. The gift was presented by Kazuo Wada, vice president of Yaohan Japan and president of Yaohan U. S. A.

Accompanied by his mother, Mrs. Katsu Wada, chairman of the board, he gave a plaque commemorating the occasion to Koshiro Torii, representing the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.

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