LOCAL NEWS

From Kmart to H Mart: Asian grocery giant opens first Utah store

Jun 8, 2024, 8:33 PM | Updated: 8:34 pm

Within minutes of opening its doors on Friday, H Mart was filled with hundreds of people grabbing g...

Within minutes of opening its doors on Friday, H Mart was filled with hundreds of people grabbing grocery carts, knocking on melons and checking out the massive live crabs in the seafood section. (Emma Everett Johnson, KSL.com)

(Emma Everett Johnson, KSL.com)

WEST JORDAN — Within minutes of opening its doors on Friday, H Mart was filled with hundreds of people grabbing grocery carts, knocking on melons and checking out the massive live crabs in the seafood section.

The 108,196-square-foot Asian grocery superstore has been in the works for years and takes the place of the old Kmart at 1442 W. 9000 South in West Jordan.

“We are so excited to bring the H Mart here,” said Chandler Yoon, H Mart office assistant.

And Utahns are excited for the first H Mart in the state, Yoon said, adding that Asian market offerings in Salt Lake City’s Chinatown are good, but they can’t compete with big-box H Mart, which brings lots of high-quality options from Asia at a cheaper price.

“You’re going to find things here that you won’t find anywhere else,” grocery manager Sam Reed said.

H Mart has plenty to offer

While H Mart caters to Koreans, it has plenty from Chinese, Japanese and other cultures.

Store visitors should check out the ramen, which sells at a “good price,” Yoon said. Bulgogi, a popular Korean barbecue dish, is also a great option — especially for Americans who aren’t sure where to start with H Mart’s diverse inventory, Reed said. The store has nonfood items, too. Yoon recommends checking out the fun clothes and sunglasses designed for pets.

Customers can expect to see in-store restaurants opening in the next few months. The first will be a boba tea shop near the store’s entrance.

H Mart has been around since 1982, when it opened its first location in Queens, New York. Now, there are H Marts all over the country, with clusters in the Los Angeles and New York City areas. It earned some national name recognition when Michelle Zauner’s memoir, “Crying in H Mart” hit bestseller lists in 2023.

How did Utah attract the retailer? There are a few reasons.

Silicon Slopes has brought in a significant Asian population, Reed said. From 2010-2020, the state’s Asian population grew by 50%, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

And ties to Asia are just getting stronger: Delta Airlines has been tossing around the idea of a nonstop service to Incheon, South Korea, where the University of Utah has a satellite campus.

If the way, way, out-the-door line on opening day was any indication, H Mart will do just fine on the Wasatch Front.

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From Kmart to H Mart: Asian grocery giant opens first Utah store