My name is Kae Kim and I was born in South Korea, in a small village outside of Seoul. I grew up in a large family, it was my parents, and 6 kids including me! My parents were both farmers, and occasionally the children helped out on the farm, but education was most important to them, and they made sure we all graduated from high school.
My cousin moved to the United States in the 70’s, and my mom wanted me to join her to get a better life. I moved to Philadelphia from South Korea in October of 1979. I spent the year working at a dry cleaning store, and was introduced to my husband Dong Soo Kim. We got married in South Korea, and then started our lives together here in the United States.
While I was working for the dry cleaner, my husband worked at a deli in the Logan neighborhood of Philadelphia. In 1981, I had my son and stopped working, in 1983 I had my daughter. My husband worked to support us, and eventually left the deli for something more lucrative, owning and operating a vendor kiosk. In 1991, I went back to work, and my husband and I both started working at a grocery store in the Hunting Park neighborhood of Philadelphia. In 1996, we ended up purchasing the business.
My husband and I work in the store 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, to be able to provide for our wonderful children. Our daughter ended up going to law school at Widener University, and our son went to Drexel University of IT and finance. Our kids are all grown up, and leading successful lives – we are very proud of them!
In 1996, we bought the grocery store we had been working in and named it Kim’s Market. Our market serves basic household and snack items such as cold drinks, grocery items, cleaning items, convenience goods, and we even have a deli! We sell some fruit and vegetables as well!
Our shop is over 20 years old, and things began to get wear and tear. Our equipment was failing, and causing us many issues. Therefore, we applied for a grant through The Merchant’s Fund in Philadelphia which helped us buy a new deli counter and refrigerators. In addition to this, we are also working with the City of Philadelphia, using their Storefront Improvement Program to paint, get a new sign, and new windows for our storefront!
We hope to make our business beautiful on the inside and out, and provide a place of convenience and aesthetic appeal for our community!
We have been very lucky to get help from The Merchant’s Fund for new equipment, and the City of Philadelphia for a renovated storefront! There is still work that needs to be done on the inside though. We are currently ripping up the floors, and will be redoing the ceiling and painting. In addition, we are looking to add some new shelving, and a food prep table in the deli area.
If we have any leftover funds, we will apply those to buying more inventory! We thank you in advance for your generosity, and hope if you ever visit Philadelphia you will stop by to say hello!
A loan of $7,000 helps me to finish remodeling my neighborhood grocery shop!