Monrovia's only international food market closed earlier this month and a Chinese company that bought the store's building plans to covert it into office space, according to the market's former owners.
had operated at 245 West Foothill Boulevard since 2002, said Norma Abdallah, who owned the grocery with her husband Atallah Abdallah. She and her husband previously leased out the store until last summer when they took it over themselves, but slow business forced them to sell.
"We were not making money," Norma Abdallah said. "There were not enough customers."
The store, which specialized in selling eclectic international goods, tried to take a multicultural approach that reflected the Abdallah's own life. Norma is a native of Mexico, and her husband hails from Palestine, she said.
"We tried to combine all kinds of culture," she said, noting that the store carried Middle Eastern, Asian, and Latin American food.
The Dogwood's building had been on the market for two years before it recently sold, Abdallah said. The couple finally took an offer from an unidentified Chinese firm that was far lower than they'd originally hoped to get.
"We couldn’t sell it for what we were asking," she said. "We ended up selling it for way less than what we were asking but we just had to get out of here."
Atallah Abdallah said the new owners intend to keep the current building intact. It was being used by a Mexican restaurant when the Abdallahs purchased it in 2002.
Regular customers were taken by surprise by the closure of Dogwood's, Norma Abdallah said.
"Most of our customers, our regular customers, were very disappointed," she said. "Most of them were, like, very, very shocked because it happened so fast."
The Abdallahs, who already run grocery stores in other Southern California towns like Huntington Beach and Rancho Cucamonga, have leased a new building in Diamond Bar that they'll use for a new market. Norma Abdallah said she was excited to start that project but said she'll miss Monrovia.
"We thought we were going to make it here. We really tried hard," she said.