Convenience colossus 7-Eleven has quietly shelved a controversial effort to freeze out the Swan Mart, a locally owned Korean-American grocery store on Southwest Barbur Boulevard. "7-Eleven has canceled its plans for the property," Portland market manager Grant Allen told WW.
The owners were overjoyed at the news. "We waited for this a long, long time," says John Kim. "My family is happy--so happy."
The Kims bought the business--but not the property--for $100,000 five years ago. Since then, John, his brother Sung and their parents, Kug Joo and Ok Il, have worked 17 hours a day, every day, to pay back the money they borrowed.
In August, however, the Kims learned that their landlord, Ron Erickson, had inked a deal with 7-Eleven and was planning not to renew their lease, which expired Sept. 1. The Kims were devastated, but neighbors rallied around the Swan Mart. "My family is very appreciative of the neighborhood," John Kim says. "We want to say thank you to everyone."
7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris told WW that the company pulled out because various requirements were not completed by Sept. 1. The Swan Mart's future still hangs in the balance, however, because the Kims have not yet negotiated a lease with Erickson. "This is not over yet," John Kim says.