H Mart

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H Mart
Native name
H 마트
Private company
Industry Grocery
Founded September 1982; 35 years ago (1982-09) (as Han Ah Reum)
Woodside, Queens, New York City, New York, US
Founder Il Yeon Kwon
Headquarters Lyndhurst, New Jersey, U.S.
Number of locations
  • 61 (US)
  • 2 (UK)
  • 12 (Canada)
  • 1 (India)
Area served
Northeastern United States, Southeastern United States, Midwestern United States, Texas, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Southern Ontario, United Kingdom, India
Key people
Il Yeon Kwon (CEO)[1]
Revenue
  • IncreaseUS $1.050 billion (2013)
[2]
Number of employees
2,500[1]
Parent Hanahreum Group
Website hmart.com
Super H Mart in Spring Branch, Houston, Texas

H Mart (Korean: H 마트 or 한아름 마트; Chinese: 韓亞龍) is an Asian American supermarket chain operated by the Hanahreum Group headquartered in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. The chain, with locations throughout the United States and Canada, specializes in providing Asian foods. The chain also operates several Super H Mart stores. H Mart is the largest Asian American grocery store with 61 locations nationwide.

The "H" in "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. The store still exists, but does not operate the same way as other H Marts do and keeps the original Han Ah Reum name.[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 tenth anniversary of opening its first store in 1982, the company began a rapid expansion by adding 10 additional stores in as many years. While mainly concentrated to the Northeast, in 1997 the company opened its first store in Falls Church, Virginia. 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 2016 there were over 50 H Mart locations in the United States, in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Texas.[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 with their first store in Coquitlam, British Columbia.[9] 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.[10] 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[11] in 2012 and Port Coquitlam in 2016.

In 2013, the company opened its first urban convenience format on Yonge Street and Churchill Avenue the in Toronto-suburb of Willowdale 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.[12]. A larger H Mart opened on Yonge Street in Richmond Hill, with another opening in Downtown Toronto across from Ryerson University in 2017.

Europe[edit]

H Mart Europe Limited was incorporated in 2009[13] and in 2011 H Mart opened its first store in Europe, in New Malden, London.[14] Miniature H Mart stores opened in 2015 on Tottenham Court Road,[15] and in 2017 in Camden Town.

India[edit]

Due to the increased interest and fascination of East Asian foods and products from the Indian population, H-Mart opened its first location within the city of Mumbai in 2017 under much fanfare.

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 company's 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.[19]

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 November 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Hot 100 Chart 2014". National Retail Federation. National Retail Federation. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Company History". H Mart. Retrieved May 23, 2017. 
  4. ^ Ortutay, Barbara (February 23, 2005). "Bucks gets an Asian flavor". Bucks County Courier Times. Retrieved July 27, 2011. (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Timeline". H Mart. Archived from the original on March 17, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2011. 
  6. ^ Dietrich, Heidi (March 12, 2006). "H-Mart grocery chain to make state debut". Puget Sound Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved June 26, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Store Locations". H Mart. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  8. ^ Kang, Cecilia (October 7, 2007). "Koreans, Hispanics Work for Harmony". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ "H Mart Canadian History". Canadian Store History. H Mart. Retrieved May 23, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Korean supermarket chain picks B.C. over U.S. west". The Vancuver Sun. October 15, 2007. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  11. ^ Yong, Benjamin (January 12, 2012). "H-Mart introduces a taste of Korea". Richmond News. Glacier Community Media. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  12. ^ Kwon, Nancy (June 27, 2013). "H-mart opens urban convenience format in Toronto". Canadian Grocer. Rogers Publishing Limited. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  13. ^ Company information for H MART EUROPE LIMITED (06879552) incorporated 16-04-2009. Ukdata.com. Retrieved on 2013-06-10.
  14. ^ "H-Mart UK". Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  15. ^ "HMart open mini store in Tottenham Court Road, London!". October 19, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  16. ^ MacDonald, Jim. "Picket/Protest/Phone H-Mart Supermarket Chain to End Their Racist Hiring Policies". ny121asil @ASilva_NY. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Chan, Melissa (October 24, 2012). "Protesters call H-Mart's hiring racist". The Queens Courier. Schneps Publications, Inc. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Claim of discrimination against whites dismissed". Langley Advance. canada.com. December 18, 2007. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  19. ^ Farrell and Farrell obo others (2007),  [1996] HUMAN RIGHTS CODE R.S.B.C., c. 210   (BCHRT)

External links[edit]