The Seattle Times has a lovely little valedictory for Medina Market, located in a small residential community just east, across Lake Washington, from Seattle, where Korean immigrants Jin and Hae SunYou have operated since 2011.
Which isn't that long ago … but the store is closing now because the owners want to move back to South Korea, where one of their sons lives.
"The customer base ranges in this wealthy enclave, which counts Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Charles Simonyi among its about 3,000 residents.
"Billionaires have stopped by to purchase bottles of wine, and construction workers come in for lunch. Jin wouldn’t identify his famous customers — it was clear they wanted to be private, he added. Sometimes people come in and ask where Gates or Bezos live, but Jin won’t say. He likes that anyone, the billionaire or the hourly worker, can come in and feel welcome."
The Times writes that "customers joked that the market, one of the only commercial businesses in the city, served as a makeshift community and child care center. Some boys were acting up one day, so Jin called their parents. Parents have called them to say that their kids were officially cut off from their house account after they got an unexpectedly high bill with ice cream and candy."
This week, as the couple closed the store for the final time, "residents gave You and Jin one more send-off, raising $75,000 for the couple in their retirement."
You can read the entire story here.
- KC's View:
I wanted to take note of this story because it seems so reflective of a time gone by, when markets would in fact serve as community centers, where, in the words of one customer, "Everyone feels very seen."
My only question is, doesn't 75 grand seem kind of paltry for a customer base with the means mentioned in the story? But on the other hand, it is remarkable gesture.