Meet John Yim in this blog and then meet him later when he settles in as a new business owner in Tuskegee.
I met him during an ECHOboom assignment. Working the event alongside blogger Tone’ Lewis who stated in a recent blog, that if you missed the Eggs and Issues Breakfast Forum hosted by the Tuskegee Chamber on February 21, you missed out on an outstanding event.
Not to worry though because there will be other events similar that. Furthermore, you can read all about what took place in Ms. Lewis’ blog entry by clicking here. I enjoyed participating in the songs selected for the program, raffle drawings, delicious breakfast prepared by the Kellogg Center’s restaurant staff and most of all, Dr. Charlotte Morris’ message on preparing for the future to prevent negative issues from repeating themselves.
Before the program began, a warm acknowledgement from Chamber President Loretta Alexander was extended to Mr. John Yim. He recently purchased the building that was once known as Big Bear and more recently Calhoun Foods. When the program ended, I made my way to speak with Mr. Yim, who is originally from Seoul, Korea and now lives in Montgomery.
I did a little bit of researching on my own prior to speaking with him after learning about the closing of Calhoun Foods from The Tuskegee News. I was aware of other grocery stores he runs which seem to be successful enterprises. What I really wanted to know was why Tuskegee? He responded, “Community means everything to me,” he said.
He continued on by reminiscing about the time he came to Tuskegee in 1973 with little to nothing along with his wife and son. He made a friend here that helped him find work. This friend also supported him and his family as much as he could. He noticed how much history has occurred in Tuskegee and how much we need assistance in rebuilding the city. Given that he is familiar with the US food retail industry, when he was made aware that Calhoun Foods went out of business, he realized the time was now for him to step in.
Just as Dr. Morris said that “new challenges lead to new opportunities,” new opportunities also lead to new challenges. Mr. Yim’s approach to reopening the supermarket will be based on a certain level of foundation provided. He prefers to find help within the community only, which shuns getting assistance elsewhere, “We are not going to bring anybody from the outside.” He is firm about bringing Tuskegee together again as a community and will do his part to contribute to this goal.
He stressed that he will support Tuskegee as best he can as a way of paying forward the kindness he received as a new immigrant to this country.
The supermarket is a start to new beginnings. As a Tuskegee native, I appreciate that he did not forget this town after his businesses began to thrive. The streets are saying the store will open in a few days but that is not confirmed by any of our sources. Since I have Mr. Yim’s direct line and an open invitation to stay in contact with him, I will keep you posted as I learn more details.
The store is named Giant Foods and a soft opening was held on Monday, March 19, 2018 from 7:00am until 9:00am.
A grand opening and ribbon-cutting is scheduled to be held later.