Dunbar has a variety of grocery stores to choose from and each has its special place in the neighbourhood. H-Mart Dunbar is the newest arrival and has saved customers from having to travel to other parts of the city to purchase Asian groceries.
The H-Mart supermarket chain got its start 37 years ago in New York. Since then 100 stores have opened in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
In November 2018 H-Mart Dunbar opened for business.
Is there a story behind the business name? Marketing manager Tae Kim explains, “H-Mart was formerly known as Hanahreum Mart. The Korean phrase ‘Han Ah Reum’ means ‘one arm full of groceries.’ Because it was difficult to pronounce, we shortened the name to H-Mart.”
Coquitlam’s H-Mart was the first in Canada. Other Lower Mainland locations include Langley, Port Coquitlam, Richmond, UBC, and downtown Vancouver.
Tae says, “We opened the Dunbar store so the community could easily access Asian groceries.”
The Deli Kitchen and food court are extremely popular. Customers enjoy shopping and having the option to have a quick meal at the food court; the BB.Q Chicken kiosk is a customer favourite.
Tae reports, “BB.Q Chicken is the most popular fried chicken franchise in Korea. With its special seasoning and sauce, BB.Q fried chicken is more sweet and savoury than other fried chicken in Canada. Many ready-to-eat meals such as bento boxes and marinated meat rice bowls are made in store at the Deli Kitchen.”
“If you want Asian food for lunch or dinner, H-Mart’s food court is your go-to place.” Tae Kim
Each H-Mart store is unique. Tae says, “For example, H-Mart Coquitlam focuses on Korean products while our Richmond store carries 60 percent non-Korean Asian products. H-Mart Dunbar focuses on attracting shoppers who are looking for everyday groceries such as tofu for dinner or Kimchi as a side dish. We are trying to carry as many items as possible so people can find what they need.”
H-Mart Dunbar has both live and fresh seafood you may not find elsewhere locally. The store is best known for its bakery and hot food that is prepared in store each morning.
Tae says, “We sell both convenient and conventional food options. Although many processed items come from Asia, most of H-Mart’s produce, seafood and meat are from North America. Like our slogan “Better Foods, Better Life,” we are committed to providing fresh produce and seafood through a wide selection of Asian imports as well as Western products.”
In the early years H-Mart focussed primarily on Korean products; it now tries to serve a broader clientele. H-Mart Dunbar is designed to attract customers from different ethnic backgrounds by providing popular Asian meals and fresh ingredients that can be used in many cuisines.
“We believe food is an essential part of one’s culture and many of our Asian customers come to our store looking for flavours from their homeland. As well, Western customers shop at H-Mart for fresh seasonal fruits or to look for an exotic Asian food experience,” says Tae.
Many people have welcomed H-Mart Dunbar and enjoy being able to purchase their favourite groceries close to home.
Tae comments, “There are still a lot of people who are not familiar with us or who are afraid to adventure through the aisles of an Asian supermarket. We are striving to make these new customers feel more comfortable shopping at H-Mart.”
“If you have any questions, our staff will be more than happy to explain what a product is and how to cook it.” Tae Kim
Tae points out, “Although H-Mart is an Asian supermarket we do carry many Western products. All of the labels are written in English so don’t be afraid to come and experience exotic Oriental foods.”
Customer service is one of H-Mart’s top priorities. Tae says, “Our customers are spending their own time to shop at our store and we want their time at H-Mart to be really pleasant and enjoyable so they will come back and shop again.”
What does H-Mart’s team enjoy most about this location? Tae says with a smile, “What we like most about Dunbar is the residents. The people are nice and friendly, and they have passion for the food they crave. Dunbar may look peaceful but it is quite vibrant when it comes to food.”
5557 Dunbar Street, Vancouver BC V6N 1W5