Korean Market Han Ma Oom Gets a Second Chance Under New Ownership

Han Ma Oom's new owners look to expand the Korean market to sell prepared foods and eventually sell alcoholic beverages, such as bottled soju and makgeolli.

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
Produce signs in the Korean market Han Ma Oom

Business owners Sujin Park and her husband, Wonju La, are getting used to their new routines: stocking the shelves and ringing up customers at Han Ma Oom (764 Bethel Road), the small Korean grocery store they acquired in March. The couple previously ran the popular Old North eatery Japanese Oriental Restaurant, which was open for more than 40 years before it closed abruptly at the end of 2021 following a lease dispute. The restaurant’s location is being eyed for redevelopment.

“It’s totally different,” Park says about her new career as a market owner. “It’s a lot of work. … It’s a little hectic now but maybe in a couple of months, I hope everything [settles down].”

More:Seven International Groceries and Markets on Bethel Road

Park says she and her husband live near the Olentangy Square market and were customers prior to owning it. By chance, at the same time the couple decided to shut down their Campus-area restaurant, Han Ma Oom’s previous owner was looking to retire.

One thing that makes Han Ma Oom unique is that the previous owner stocked the produce section with organic vegetables grown on her own small farm about 30 minutes away, and Park says they plan to carry on that relationship. Some of the produce offerings, not all of them grown locally, include green onion, napa cabbage, daikon, perilla leaves and watercress. The market also carries rice, grains, meat, fish, vegetables, dried mushrooms, seaweed, instant ramen, kimchi, sweets and much more.

There isn’t a kitchen at Han Ma Oom, but Park still aims to feed customers by getting a license to sell prepared foods at the market. She also plans to eventually sell alcoholic beverages such as bottled soju and makgeolli.

Han Ma Oom’s hours are 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Sunday.

This story is from the May 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.