Chef: Edward Chung
Store: Fry’s Food Stores 686 and
Fry’s Food Stores 694 (opening March 2017)
City: Mesa, Arizona
Average Weekly Sales: $15,000
Though my family’s Korean, I was born in Brazil. My parents immigrated to America when I was very young, and I’ve lived in California for most of my life. In my late twenties I moved to Nevada for a retail clothing management job, and that’s when I met my wife. It just happened that she opened a clothing store right next to mine. We met there, we got to know each other, and I ended up marrying her. I left the company I was working at, and we started our own stores together.
But in 2013 we’d come to the point where the economy was still bad. We’d already shut down two stores. We’d been looking for an alternative for about a year when one of our friends who owned a Snowfox sushi bar introduced us to the company, and he kept telling us to do it. So we thought, “Okay you know what? Let’s get trained and test the waters.”
Once we started doing that, we really liked this concept and business model. And we decided, “We’re gonna wait for a store to become available. We’re gonna change our business.” Lo and behold, came Valentines Day 2013. We still owned one of the clothing stores, but we got the call from JFE, and we looked at each other and decided, “We’re going!”
The most unexpected thing has been all the relationships we’ve made. I’m pretty amazed. I’ve gotten to know a lot of good people within JFE and Fry’s. Even though I’m not part of the Fry’s company, I feel so welcome there. In clothing I did build relationships with some customers, but for the most part you keep to yourself. Here, though, we’re constantly interacting, whether it’s a customer, or a market employee, or with my employees. In this environment, it’s the connection with people that I really love. It’s there 24-7. It’s always happening.