New shopping center brings Asian flair

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Completing a shopping trip for the finest in Asian foods and products is now as simple as driving to the greater Suwanee area and strolling through the Galleria at Sugarloaf.

Rhee Bros. Inc., a manufacturer, importer and distributor of Asian foods and gifts, recently celebrated the grand opening of Assi Plaza International Food as a key anchor for the Galleria development.

In addition to its new store on Old Peachtree Road, Rhee Bros. will open a second store on Pleasant Hill Road. The company already has 15 supermarkets across America.

Steve Syngman Rhee, chairman and CEO of Rhee Bros. Inc., said one reason he is investing in Gwinnett County is the large residing population of Asian Americans and Hispanics in Duluth, Suwanee and Lawrenceville.

Steve Rhee”s vision is that Gwinnett”s large Asian community will continue to grow because of the school system, the varied housing options and the county”s progressive transportation implementation plans.

Rhee Bros. Inc. is based in Columbia, Md., and the company owns markets in Los Angeles, Maryland, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The Old Peachtree Road site is the eighth large-scale retail location for the company. The ninth location will soon follow on Pleasant Hill Road and will be called Assi Plaza Duluth.

The Galleria at Sugarloaf property will feature upscale businesses and restaurants along with the Assi store, which carries a variety of Asian, American and Hispanic products, live fish, fresh produce, appliances, furniture and prepared Asian meals.

The Assi Plaza Duluth will open on Pleasant Hill Road in the former Wal-Mart center, which is now being remodeled, later this spring. The Duluth facility will include the Assi Plaza store and 35 retail shops.

The Assi Plaza stores are entering the market against three other stores that surfaced late last year and early this year. Other similar stores around the area include: Super H Mart on Pleasant Hill Road, Mercado del Pueblo on Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Namdaemoon ( South Gate) on Shackleford Road.

In addition to Assi, the Galleria at Sugarloaf will include a high-end retail department store, educational services, a dance studio and other services consumers need on a day-to-day basis.

But a key drawing card for the Galleria will be the entertainment options. Dining experiences ranging from baked items to Thai, Vietnamese and Korean cuisines are essentially subanchoring the project.

Design and leasing is in process for the future Old Peachtree Village project across Old Peachtree Road from the Galleria site. The first of the new services should be available before the end of 2005.

The 14-acre site will include 130,000 feet of available space with 40,000 feet of retail and 75,000 feet of office space. The remaining ground will be occupied by a convenience store and restaurant.

Old Peachtree Village plans call for splitting up buildings and creating walking areas to give the development a more pedestrian fe