H Mart

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H Mart
Native name H 마트
Type Private
Industry Grocery
Founded 1982 (1982) in Woodside, Queens, New York
Founders Il Yeon Kwon
Headquarters Lyndhurst, NJ, United States
Number of locations
Area served Northeast, Southeast, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Canada, Toronto, Canada, United Kingdom
Key people Il Yeon Kwon (CEO)[1]
Revenue
  • IncreaseUS$1.050 billion (2013)
[2]
Employees 2,500[1]
Website H Mart Official Site
Super H Mart in Spring Branch, Houston, Texas

H Mart (Korean: H 마트, 한아름 마트, Chinese: 韓亞龍) is an American supermarket chain operated by the Hanahreum Group headquartered in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. The chain, with locations throughout the United States, Canada, and London, specializes in providing Asian foods. The chain also operates several Super H Mart stores.

"H Mart" stands for Han Ah Reum, a Korean phrase meaning "One Arm Full of Groceries."[3]

History[edit]

The chain began in 1982 in Woodside, Queens, New York City as a small corner grocery store.[3][4] On October 19, 1998 the chain's current headquarters in Lyndhurst, New Jersey opened.[5]

Growth[edit]

United States[edit]

Cheltenham H-Mart

After the opening of its first store in 1986, following the 10-year anniversary, the company began a rapid expansion by adding 10 additional stores in just as many years. While mainly concentrated to the Northeast, in 1997 the company opened its first store in Falls Church, Virginia. From there growth was exponential. By 2005 the chain had 17 stores and by March 2006, the company had 22 locations. With the exception of two stores in Denver, Colorado, all of the locations were located on the East Coast. The company scheduled the opening of its first West Coast location in Federal Way, Washington, in April 2006.[6]

As of 2013 there were over 40 H Mart locations across the United States, in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, California, Texas and Massachusetts.[7]

After its 2001 opening, an H Mart location in Northern Virginia gained many Hispanic American employees. After cultural conflicts between Hispanic and Korean American employees in one store, the H Mart headquarters provided an intercultural training course, with translations in Spanish.[8]

Canada[edit]

Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada location.

H Mart began moving into Western Canada starting in December 2003[9] with their first store in Coquitlam, BC.[10] The original and the next three were a first for the Vancouver suburbs as the company opened their first western North American stores in Canada as opposed to the United States first. Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco weren't scheduled to open until months later and the next year, respectfully.[11] In subsequent years, following the success of their first Canadian store, the company opened three additional locations in Downtown Vancouver and Langley in 2006 and Richmond[12] in 2012.

In 2013, the company opened its first urban convenience format near Sheppard Centre in Toronto, Canada called "M2M–morning to midnight". The two-story, 4,500 square feet (420 m2) store is the first one in Canada. There are currently two other M2M stores in Manhattan.[13]

Europe[edit]

H Mart Europe Limited was incorporated in 2009 [14] and in 2011 H Mart opened its first store in Europe, in New Malden, London.[15]

Controversy[edit]

In 2012, outside the Flushing, New York location, pop-up picket lines appeared to protest H Mart's hiring practices. According to Jim MacDonald, the protest organizer, and two friends, said that a nearby Waldbaum's closing is the reason for their discontent of the companies hiring practices which are mainly of Asians or Koreans.[16] The trio said that several other nearby stores all have disproportionate levels of employees meaning that there were almost no white or blacks in any of the stores they visited.[17] In a statement by H Mart stated that the company, "does not screen employees by race, but by their capabilities. The reason Korean employees dominate the chain’s Flushing stores, he said, is so they can cater to an incredibly large population of residents who do not speak English."[17]

In 2006, a civil suit was filed against H Mart for discrimination against whites when three tenants of the West Willow Shopping Mall that the company had moved into and then bought in Willowbrook, Canada. The three complainants, Rose Farrell of Colour Tech Hair Studio, John Pook of Peter F. Pook Insurance, and Lynn Wallace of Frames West Gallery filed a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal alleging that the company wanted to turn it into an Asian-only market.[18] All three made the claim when their leases weren't renewed despite being long-term lease holders within the mall. In late 2007, tribunal member Lindsay Lyster dismissed their complaint on the grounds it had no reasonable prospect of success and did not merit a hearing. She found the complainants' evidence in support of their claim was not strong and the respondents disputed what they did have. Lyster wrote:

"In the end, I have concluded that the complainants' case is based on little more than conjecture based on what they read in the media and H-Mart's reputation as a 'Korean market,' as seen through the lens of their own unhappiness in being unable to maintain their businesses in the mall,"

Farrell and Farrell obo others (2007),  [1996] HUMAN RIGHTS CODE R.S.B.C., c. 210   (BCHRT)

See also[edit]

H Mart Translations
Koreageostub.svg
Hangul H 마트
Revised Romanization H mat‘ŭ
McCune–Reischauer H mateu
한아름 마트
Hangul 한아름 마트
Revised Romanization Hanareum mateu
McCune–Reischauer Hanarŭm mat‘ŭ

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Il Yeon-Kwon, 53; Chairman & CEO, HAR Grand...". Forbes. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Hot 100 Chart 2014". National Retail Federation. National Retail Federation. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Company History". H Mart. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Ortutay, Barbara (23 February 2005). "Bucks gets an Asian flavor". Bucks County Courier Times. Retrieved 27 July 2011. (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Timeline". H Mart. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Dietrich, Heidi (12 March 2006). "H-Mart grocery chain to make state debut". Puget Sound Business Journal (American City Business Journals). Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Store Locations". H Mart. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  8. ^ Kang, Cecilia (7 October 2007). "Koreans, Hispanics Work for Harmony". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "H Mart History". H Mart Canada - Vancouver. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Coquitlam Store Details". Store Locations. H Mart. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Korean supermarket chain picks B.C. over U.S. west". The Vancuver Sun. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Yong, Benjamin (12 January 2012). "H-Mart introduces a taste of Korea". Richmond News (Glacier Community Media). Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Kwon, Nancy (27 June 2013). "H-mart opens urban convenience format in Toronto". Canadian Grocer (Rogers Publishing Limited). Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  14. ^ Company information for H MART EUROPE LIMITED (06879552) incorporated 16-04-2009. Ukdata.com. Retrieved on 2013-06-10.
  15. ^ "H-Mart UK". Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  16. ^ MacDonald, Jim. "Picket/Protest/Phone H-Mart Supermarket Chain to End Their Racist Hiring Policies". ny121asil @ASilva_NY. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Chan, Melissa (24 October 2012). "Protesters call H-Mart’s hiring racist". The Queens Courier (Schneps Publications, Inc.). Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  18. ^ "Claim of discrimination against whites dismissed". Langley Advance. canada.com. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 

External links[edit]