A police officer who arrived on the scene the morning after, told Kil and his father, that this was the worst looting and destruction they had seen in the area.
News of the Kim family's completely wrecked business already suffering huge losses from the 3 months of Covid-19 shut-down, was too heartbreaking to simply shrug off after offering a few words of comfort. We knew too well what the store meant to the Kim family; it embodied 40 years and 3 generations of sacrifice and grit to build up their hair and beauty supply store on Girard and Broad.
Inji shared with us: "It is devastating. However we are trying to stay hopeful. Everything... happened for us because God allowed it".
Multigenerational History of OK Hair Beauty:
Back in 2015, Kil's aging parents, who had spent 35 years to build up the business and trusted relationships within the local community, were finally ready to retire, but Kil wasn't quite ready to say goodbye to the family business. Kil and Inji understood the risks; they would need to compete with online shopping and other big box stores selling beauty supplies galore. But Kil had always dreamt about being his own boss one day and an entrepreneur like his parents, and so he resigned from his stable corporate job working for Comcast to continue in his parents' footsteps as a small business owner. He had Inji's full support because she knew how much the store meant to her husband.
Kil had been raised at the store, building relationships with the community, where even now the local grandmas remember Kil. Though all grown up, super tall, and with his own family- they still see him as the little boy they used to see playing at the store or running around in their neighborhood. That’s because OK Hair Beauty was Kil and his brothers' second home growing up. Now it has become second home to Kil and Inji’s two daughters. The Kim sisters have pretty much spent much of their past summers, weekends, or afterschool hours at OK Hair Beauty doing homework, being creative to pass the many hours their parents worked there, and enthusiastically helping answer questions for customers.
Estimated cost: Estimated loss is roughly $500,000 including inventory.
Campaign's Purpose: Help rebuild the Kims' family business:
Kims' vision for rebuilding: The Kims shared that instead of losing all hope, they have been conversing with neighbors who have stopped by to kindly offer help or already ask if they needed an employee, in order to gauge what kind of store the local residents would like to see in their neighborhood. The Kim family is envisioning not just rebuilding their family business, but possibly opening up an essential business that can better serve the community with needed essentials. 40 years ago, when the girls’ grandparents first lay down the roots of their business, they had sold fish and produce.
The Kims are currently considering all of their options and will continue to update us. As Governor Cuomo has repeatedly urged, "Don't just rebuild...rebuild it better", they dream of a better future. Whether it is support for a reopening of a better beauty and hair supply store or a newly imagined fresh produce market or convenience store, which the neighbors say they would welcome, the Kims need our help to start rebuilding their small business in the same trusted community they have come to love.
Without help, the business will shut down permanently leading to an abrupt end to their immigrant parents' American Dream for their family. However, as the Kims shared: "Our gracious God will not leave his children empty so we are seeking what God wants us to do after this tragic experience". We pray that even amidst these challenging times faced by our nation, the Kims will be able to rebuild their store to serve their community even better than they have in the past.
The Kims arrived at their store on June 1st to find blood, shattered glass, broken debris, and a torn apart metal gate that reflected the rage, anger, and brokenness of our nation's people.
The pandemic and the unlawful death of George Floyd have led to our nation unveiling its many shameful injustices, racial divides, cracks, and vulnerabilities. We hope for healing for all, starting with the Floyd Family and extending out to the countless hurting families out there today.