The Corner Forum
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2003
Issue #53

Mrs. Lee Asks for Community's Support

By Hyon Lee, Co-owner, N-A Minit, 421 13th St. NE

Mrs. Lee, who owns N-A Minit together with her husband, Sae Won Lee, submitted the following letter on Thursday. N-A Minit has asked the city for permission to purchase Excello's liquor license, transfer the license to 421 13th St. NE and remove the prohibitions against selling single-serving containers of alcohol that are attached to Excello's license.

Dear Corner Forum readers and my neighbors,

Over the past few months there have been a few negative comments made against the license transfer process from the Excello liquor store to the N-A Minit store. As most of you know, N-A Minit has been a part of this neighborhood for 18 years. Over the years, we have seen many changes around us. When we first moved into the store, the store was not in good condition. We spent a lot of time and effort on the beautification of the store and added many items for our customers' convenience. Many customers gave us encouragement and positive feedback that has been the energy of our business, allowing us to thrive for the last 18 years — not only business-wise: we also became friends with many of our customers. We've been sharing happiness and sadness with our neighbors through the many weddings, funerals and other events we attended — not because we had to, but because we wanted to and were a part of this community.

Quite contrary to what some people said, the neighborhood around us became cleaner, less loitered and quieter compared to when we first came. I don't think anybody would dispute the fact that we maintain the area around the store neatly, to the best of our ability. Some may argue that selling single bottles of beer causes littering in the neighborhood. As an owner, why would I be opposed to the cleanliness of the store? If there is a true problem, we will be the first to try to correct it. Look around, our friends, it is NOT true that the people who can afford to buy a case of beer are the only ones capable of keeping the area clean, and that the people who buy single bottles simply because they could not afford to buy a whole case will litter the place. That is an unfair judgment to the people in our area. I know many people who may not be able to spend a great deal of money but who are equally or better mannered than most people.

As you know, the neighborhood is always changing. Old neighbors are moving out and new ones are coming in. While we welcome the changes, we also need time to adjust to the new environment. You just can't make accommodations overnight. We have had a real strong bond with our neighbors as friends and as a part of community. We have earned our customers' trust. However over the last couple of years, it feels like the trust was betrayed. All of a sudden many of our good relationships with our customers were never mentioned, and the N-A Minit store became the target of daily gossip.

We appreciate the business our community has given us over the years, but we need continued support to allow us to serve and run our business. As a community member and as a friend, I would like to ask you readers of the community to support us so that we can continue to serve our community for many more years to come. §