Looking for New Roots

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Rafu Bussan Inc. is reducing inventory as it looks for another home.

Aiko Kawaratani, Carol Tanita and Rigoberto Martinez in the showroom of Rafu Bussan in Little Tokyo on Sept. 29. (Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

Aiko Kawaratani, Carol Tanita and Rigoberto Martinez in the showroom of Rafu Bussan in Little Tokyo on Sept. 29. (Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

After serving the Little Tokyo community for 57 years, Rafu Bussan, Inc. will close its doors at its current location of 326 E. Second St. and is seeking a new location in the Little Tokyo area.

The Japanese import and china store has been on Second Street since 1978, and before that at its original location starting from 1958 at 344 E. First St., where the entrance to Japanese Village Plaza is now.

Hoping to have been able to stay three more years until Rafu Bussan reaches its 60th anniversary, they were saddened to hear the news that the owner of the building has decided to sell the location.

If the future owner of the building is community-minded and wants to keep Rafu Bussan in its current location, they would be willing to downsize or change the configuration of the store. They are hoping that the owners would work with them on the price of the lease.

With real estate sales of buildings booming, it has been a challenge to find the right spot with good, accessible parking making it convenient for their customers to take home their purchases of fine tabletop and rice cookers, water boilers and a variety of other kitchen and house ware needs.

“Our grandparents and their parents strived to make Little Tokyo a place where they can shop, eat and socialize and reminisce about their motherland. As we lose our original businesses that were established here in Little Tokyo, we are losing a part of history and the heart of what made Little Tokyo ‘J-Town,’” said Carol Tanita, Rafu Bussan manager.

Since Oct. 1, Rafu Bussan has been having an Inventory Reduction Sale. Everything is on sale as the store needs to greatly reduce its inventory so that it can quickly move into another location. The opening is targeted for next spring at a location to be determined.

“We are very grateful to all of our patrons, suppliers, and business friends for all of their support and devotion throughout these many years. We hope to see you soon at our new location when we will continue to serve the Little Tokyo community,” said owner Aiko Kawaratani. “We are looking forward to seeing everyone here again soon in Little Tokyo.”

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