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I live near Little Asia in Mesa. This commercial community has been flourishing, revitalizing a portion of a run-down part of town. The latest good sign is the opening of an H Mart. This is a Korean-American supermarket chain with everything from inexpensive to luxury items. The store opened as Arizona started recovering from the governor’s knee on disfavored businesses’ necks. The parking lot is full, every day. This entrepreneurial audacity is worth celebrating this Independence Day weekend.
You can see the lettering on the entry all the way across the parking lot. In huge block letters, this company set out its policy, before any state or local official edict:
As you pass the entry checkpoint, you find an employee whose entire job is entry sanitation, wiping down carts, and politely directing your attention to the hand sanitizer dispenser and the free food handler gloves you might want to wear. Inside everything is clean and well presented.
The produce section sets the tone, with Western, Korean, and other Asian fruit, vegetables, and herbs. Back in the fresh meat section they even have saltwater tanks for fresh live lobster and fish. The overall experience is captured in their motto:
A Korean tradition made in America
Of course, you get what you pay for, yet fruit and vegetables from this region are as cheap or cheaper than established grocery chain prices. Bulk bags of rice come in cheaper than a dollar a pound. In short, a household on any budget could eat well shopping in this new store.
This matters to Mesa, to Arizona, and to America as these are all new jobs. The employees reflect our community from behind their company issue masks. That is, this is not an ethnically cliquish place. The full parking lot and the shopping experience reinforce the national jobs report for June. This vibrant new business has filled a space left vacant for over a decade, since a large retailer threw in the towel. Americans are refusing to lay down and quit. That is worth celebrating this Independence Day weekend.Published in