About Il Yeon Kwon
Il Yeon Kwon is the Founder of H Mart. H Mart is the largest Asian supermarket chain in America and, according to many, pioneer of Asian food in America.
But even though the grocery store is now recognized for its international success, Il Yeon started Hmart with only a single store in Woodside, Queens in 1982. Since its inception on the bustling streets of NYC, H Mart has grown to include more than 65 stores across the United States. “It’s been an honor to see my dream grow into something so influential; That has brought such joy to people’s lives,” Il Yeon Kwon says when he was asked about his career over 40 years in the industry.
But it wasn’t just his desire for spreading authentic Korean food to the people who were hungry and interested in this delicious, foreign cuisine that led Yeon to open that first store back in ‘82. Rather, Yeon’s desire was birthed equally out of his love for entrepreneurship. “Following your dreams,” Il Yeon Kwon continues with a laugh. “My heart was telling me I need to pursue my dreams and so I went with it. Watching my family involved in a company that grew beyond my wildest dreams is truly an extraordinary experience.”
Continuing in that spirit of innovation, H Mart is known for its impressive food halls which are an extension of over three decades of providing eateries in its stores. In addition, H Mart is continuing to branch out with their cuisine options. As the fascination and love for Korean culture continues to grow in the West, Il Yeon Kwon and the people at H Mart continue to push the boundaries of offerings. “The more and more people accept and grow to view certain foreign dishes as part of their everyday life, the more we introduce new and exciting things to them. It’s exciting to see exotic food from halfway across the world become a beloved staple for so many people.”
H Mart is recognized as one of the fastest growing retailers in the National Retail Federation’s HOT 100 RETAILERS (#13 H Mart). Supermarket News has listed H Mart as one of the Top 50 Small Chains and Independents in the United States & Canada.
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