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New international grocery store coming to Richmond

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The owner of an international grocery store in Virginia Beach has purchased a former Kmart store in Richmond that he plans to convert into a 90,000-square-foot store with food selections from many countries.

Read Good, a regional director with S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co., which listed the 16-acre property at 6807 Midlothian Turnpike, said the $4.3 million purchase closed last week. The buyer is J&J Midlothian LLC, a company registered to Si J. Lee, who owns a Grand Mart International Food store on Newtown Road at the beach.

Lee’s real estate representative in Richmond, Phil Blythe with Realty Investments, said Lee was not commenting on the project at this time but would be willing to release details once the project is further along.

According to Good, Lee and his son plan to open a store by year end that will be similar to the one in Virginia Beach. “It will be 90,000 square feet. There’s no other ethnic grocery store even close to that size in Central Virginia,” he said. “Our market is small with 5,000- to 10,000-square-foot stores.”

According to Read, who visited Lee’s store in Virginia Beach, the business carries food products from Africa, Asia, Central and South America and North America. There’s a large selection of rice from many countries, he said, plus produce, a full bakery and large seafood section.

Read estimated it will cost $4 million to $6 million to convert the store, which is down the street from the former Cloverleaf Mall. The mall has been redeveloped into a mixed-use project, which includes a 123,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace grocery store.

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