The situation is widespread and brings with it serious implications. In Philadelphia, for example, the grocery business has been almost single-handedly responsible for building up the economy of the Korean-American community. Ever since the earliest days of Korean immigration to America, grocery stores have been the entry-level business of choice for countless numbers of Korean immigrants. Through the steady presence of their groceries, Koreans have added stability to neighborhoods experiencing ethnic change. Grocery stores provided Korean immigrants not only a precious foothold in their new country, but the opportunity to achieve economic independence. These ma-and-pa-run groceries have become almost cultural stereotypes in inner-city life. In some ways, Koreans inherited the role once held by local, neighborhood Jewish merchants. Through hard work and sacrifice, Koreans in Philadelphia managed to increase the number of groceries to over 1,000. Now, however, there are as few as 150 left.
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