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Asian food market project canceled

The owners of Grand Asia Market have canceled plans to open a 35,000-square-foot food market in the Potters Square shopping center in Stallings.

Alice Chang, co-owner of the Cary-based Grand Asia Market with her mother Jenny Chen, said last week that her mother has nixed the project for personal reasons. She declined to elaborate. They had hoped to open the Stallings Grand Asia Market by the end of the year.

“She really regrets not being able to continue,” Chang said. “We were both really excited about being here, and we think it's a great location and a great opportunity. It's just something she can't continue at this time.”

Chang and Chen announced in January that they had bought the entire Potters Square shopping center, which has struggled to find an anchor tenant after Winn Dixie abandoned its location there in 2005. They planned to lease the center's smaller spaces.

Grand Asia Market in Cary stocks many items not carried in traditional grocery stores and imports from a number of Asian countries. Chen and Chang planned to open a bakery and restaurant in the Stallings location, although they had cut in half their plans for a 60-seat restaurant because of sewer capacity limitations, Chang said.

The Stallings store would have been Grand Asia Market's second location. Chang said they currently have no plans for expansion.

The planned store generated local interest. Chang said people stopped by the Stallings location daily to ask about it.

Stallings Mayor Lynda Paxton said she was disappointed that Grand Asia Market has pulled out. Paxton worked to fill the Winn Dixie space, including talking with other grocery store operators about locating there before Grand Asia Market's interest.

“I know a lot of people were really looking forward to (Grand Asia Market),” Paxton said. “It was going to fill a void as well as being a positive for the shopping center as far as increased traffic for the other businesses there.

“I think it's a real negative for the town.”

The Stallings Grand Asia Market project had stalled for two months because of issues with sewer capacity. But Chang said they had found a way to work within the shopping center's sewer allocation and already had cut the floor for sewer and drainage areas.

“That was the biggest feat of this whole project, which we had pretty much finished,” Chang said.

The shopping center, which Chang said was a good investment, is now back on the market.

“We really did love this location,” Chang said. “That's what brought us here in the first place. It's a great location for somebody else to come in.”