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Korean folk danceKomart Woos Patrons
with Grand Opening of
Korean and Japanese Supermarket
June 19, 1999    
By Dru Shockley; pictures by Boun B.

People of all nationalities attended the Grand Opening of Komart, where dignitaries and communitiy representives welcomed Colorado's largest Korean and Japanese supermarket to Aurora (2000 S. Havana St.), the hub of the state's Korean population, numbering approximately 35,000 residents.

Debra RobisonBefore entering the store, everyone enjoyed the ribbon cutting ceremony beginning with the traditional Korean folk dance and music by brightly dressed elders.

After a local pastor said grace for the store, the proud President of Komart took the podium and thanked the public for its involvement in making this opening possible.

Paul Kwak, one the owners, emceed the ceremony and introduced the remaining speakers. Debra Robison represented Colorado Governor Bill Owens, with a congratulatory message from the State.

Mayor of Aurora, John TaurThe Mayor of Aurora John Taur delivered a short speech of encouragement to the market.

The Chairman of the Korean Association of Colorado also gave a speech in Korean.

Then after the Korean pledge of allegiance, the Asian elders again performed the traditional folk dance.

Cutting the ribbonThe ceremony concluded with the head staff of Komart, representatives of government and of the Asian community, and the Mayor cutting the ribbon and allowing the crowd to enter.

Inside the bright building, the eager crowd rushed to tour the 16,000 square-foot market and sample the Korean and Japanese foods prepared in the food court (for free of course).

Customers entering the supermarket the first time.Unlike at many Asian markets, Komart customers find ample parking, staff extraordinarily helpful to all nationalities and all products labeled in English as well as Korean.

All departments featured vast selections, including products hard to find in the Denver Asian market, notably fragrances such as Angel and makeup such as Lancome, made possible lilkely by the owners' New York affiliations.

crowded supermarketThe unusually wide grocery aisles welcomed patrons to shop from the wide variety of imported foods. Although the seafood department was not yet fully stocked, its selection looked fresh, as it should being flown in daily from Fulton Fish Market in New York City. Likewise, the produce department is daily stocked from Los Angeles.

The "Kitchen Plus" department, owned by Elizabeth Choy, offered an array of kitchenware, healthfood, and electronics.

Both the on-site Asian bakery and the Korean and Japanese video department were both under construction.

The owners of the supermarketPictured are the proud "parents" of the new supermarket. From left to right the owners are Paul Kwak, from New York; Chang M. Lee, from Colorado; Gina Kim, from Colorado; Stan J.H. Lee, from New York; and Mr. and Mrs. Han Shin, from New York.

The Aurora store is the first Komart to open in the nation. According to Paul Kwak, the next Komart will open in Texas followed by stores in Las Vegas, San Jose, and Illinois.

Kwak and the Shins are also owners of the new Korean restaurant San, meaning "mountain" in Korean, representing Colorado's landmark. The restaurant is scheduled to open in October, 1999.

The day before the openingApplause are due for the employees who scrambled overnight to transform the store from chaos to grand-opening readiness.




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