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Wednesday

The Secrets Out, Zion opens!


By JB Blocker Tues. Aug. 27th
he said, say Kimchee!
I knew that Kyu Hwang, the founder of the San Diego based Korean grocery chain was determined to open the new Zion Market at Music City Mall in record time. What most expected to take up to 8 months or more after a late start was preparing to open in less than 6 months. He pronounced a date that seemed implausible. Tuesday, August 27th!
Since the day they bought the former Sears, I have seen the concept as it closed in on reality. I knew that it would take a miracle to make that date. I work with The Way, the local property developer.
This is a soft opening. It is not publicly announced. I didn’t know what to expect. So, I waited to go until 3 to give them time. As I pull south of J.C. Penny on the east side of the mall, I see the old Sears. There is still a construction zone.
The grocers parking lot is full! There isn't even a Sign! That will be installed on Wednesday.
As I pull in to the grocery parking people are leaving with bags of produce, carts filled with white Zion bags. 
Inside, I see several aged Asian women and men are courteously filling their carts with greens and melons and fruits. There are many couples of all ages, and of the tapestry of American Asians. People are wandering the wide aisles. The lighting well planned. My first impression is wow this is better than I expected.
I see the refrigerated mushroom space. They have All Kinds of Mushrooms! 10, 11? More. This makes me happy.
It’s like that all up and down the large produce bins that serve up an amazing world of roots and leaves and fruits and such. You can see a largely undeveloped area as you enter the back-east entry that follows around to the mall entry.
You know, there’s a twist of irony there. Sears is leaving large block shops behind. The ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ generation of American Asians are young adults with children. The grandparents like me who came to America in our youth and were raised on patriotism and person pride are well established businessmen and community activist. This demographic is replacing Sears! They are proud Texas American Asians.
I consider myself a Texan and a Patriot first! My 1/2 Asian roots are combined with Brittain, France, and Germany.  Heck, I’ve worn a Stetson since my teens and have been an ambassador for ‘When East Meets West’ since a became a citizen at age 9. It took roots when we moved to Dumas, Texas for 5th grade.

Food will bring people together in ways that politics, religion, and music cannot achieve.
By becoming part of Music City Mall, the Zion Market becomes a place where all cultures can explore each other's worlds. Asians from Russia to Turkey, India to Indonesia, the many exotic island and peninsula countries that lead to China. These cultures of the ages will come to the mall because of Zion's fresh produce department.
You must meet Angelica. I saw her pushing her cart and tipped my hat and said hello. She gave me a surprised smile and her voice told me, ‘she ain’t from around here’! I had to know.
‘Where are you from Angelica? Ukraine! By way of Roanoke! She moved to Lewisville 6 months ago. Angelica tells me she is so excited. She read a story about it and she’s been reading all the articles. It happened to be my story. Zion Jackpot
I ask her why she is so excited. Angelica says that cooking all kinds of fresh foods gives her pleasure. She watches cooking shows! She is a foodie of the Julia Child generations who is watching the food channels now.
She lets me take a picture and we hug. Angelica giggles!

So, what’s the point! That’s the point. The little older Asian couples were everywhere as were Brown, Black, White, mixed, rainbow..... This little Ukrainian lady came by herself. Foodies will start coming here. The parking lots will fill daily around the Asian Center. People from all the cultural food world will be visiting a traditional mall…get this…weekly or sooner…regularly. Their friends and family will more readily attend a movie, shop Macy’s and Penny’s, buy technology, SHOP!
Many will learn to walk the mall for exercise because of climate control. They will people watch for their amusement. They will come with their children and teens. By the holidays, the mall will have a whole new market. They will come for the love of cooking fresh food and shop along the way. I know that’s a bold prediction, but I feel I’m on solid ground here.
Foodies will be lured in by a vast display of sauces, beans, rice (I want to say rices, but this computer doesn’t like it as much as I do). There are your noodles for every kind of Asian dish, green things, live swimming things, and the seasonings and spices that Kroger’s friends don’t carry.
Mr. Hwang as brought grocer managers from his 7 other Zions.  Dozens of white-clad butchers and other staff were brought in from San Diego and L.A. 
Many are cleanly and efficiently trimming, cutting, packaging a variety of meats before your eyes. Today the meat displays are as empty as the bank of aquariums from the seafood market. I wouldn’t be surprised if, within the next day or two, you’ll be looking at the final process with full displays.
There will be a lot of hiring going on progressively! The U.S. has seen nothing like what I believe is going to happen.
All of this is the brainchild of a 17 year Lewisville resident and his partners. They turned a near Ghetto on its very last legs into a Carrollton success story. The Way Management Company is directed by Richard Kang. His associates led the way to the successful reinvigoration of the George Bush and Old Denton Rd. Asian centers.
They will also manage the 70,000 square foot second floor at Zion Market Center and other dining venues.
The City of Lewisville's leadership saw the potential. Their Council, Economic Development, and Marketing department have been enthusiastically supportive. To make this date a reality, it took a lot of cooperation and timely interaction among the different city departments. Without their attentiveness, we would be months away from an opening.


There is a 20 ft. wide walkway between the Zion's bank of cash registers and the empty and unfinished future tenant spaces. These empty spaces circle the grocer and lead to the mall entry. They will be occupied by professional services, hair and makeup, treats, and a bank. 
The mall entry is not open today. But I am heading over 24 hours later to see what has happened. 
- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962.

Friday

K-Pop Stars Will Light Up Lewisville's Music City Mall




Weki-Meki performs Picky Picky
Chic Angel performs 'I Like It'

Saturday and Sunday October 26th and 27th at Lewisville's Music City Mall!
The indoor/outdoor K-Pop Together Festival promises to be a Denton County premier event. With the coordination of the City of Lewisville, the Music City Mall, and the new Zion Market Center (formerly Sears) anticipated attendance of tens of thousands will fill the parking lots between J.C. Penny's and Macy's.

The Zion Market is a West Coast success by providing exceptional garden-fresh produce, a wide variety of seafood, and all the ingredients for the foodies of North Texas.

Experience family entertainment, people watching, international food courts, and the blending of cultures!

SPONSORSHIPS, VENDOR BOOTHS, AND FOOD COURT OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE!
HIGHLIGHT YOUR BUSINESS, PROFESSIONAL SERVICES, AND CUISINE AT A FUN-FILLED EVENT BY CONTACTING 
J.B. BLOCKER 469-334-9962


- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas.

Thursday

Lewisville hits the Jackpot

 Music City Mall welcomes Zion Market Center
By J.B. Blocker
Lewisville wins the Asian market Lottery with the addition of Zion Market to the Music City Mall!
  With the recent acquisition of the former Sears building of the Music City Mall complex in Lewisville by Zion Market partnered with a prominent local management company, all the advantages go to the future Zion Market Center.
  
  There is an estimated 100,000 Korean population in the North Dallas region of DFW alone. Along with a significant number of Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, and Chinese, the Asian population is an economic force as well as a culinarian's dream.
  
  All of these cultures are seeking a reliable source for fresh produce and complimentary supplies and services.

  The influence of H-Mart in North Dallas was a springboard for an explosion of successful Asian Centers led by the Asian Town Plaza on the George Bush and Denton Road in Carrollton.
  
  Another Korean center recently broke ground in North Carrollton off Highway 121.
But both centers are going to take an instant back seat to the advantages the Lewisville Music City Mall will offer!
  The Dallas Korean Festival will be held on Saturday, November 10th at the Asian Town Plaza. Last years attendance was estimated at 40,000 and this year promises to be an equal success.
  With a coordinated effort to speed up the development of the Plaza, The 2019 Dallas Festival is poised to be hosted by the Zion Plaza at Lewisville’s Music City Mall!

Location, Location, and Proven Management


  •    Located on the I-35 corridor between Highway 121 and the George Bush Tollway. This Asian center is easily the most accessible to significant travel.
  •    Being part of the Metro-Plex’s newly developed Music City Mall is a double advantage. Asians now have movie theatres, major nameplate retailers, and family-oriented resources to enjoy. Traditional mall-goers now have new and easy access to a host of Asian dining and services.
  •    Zion has wisely partnered with The Way Management. TW Realty Advisors is credited with leading the Carrollton Asian Center to the huge success it enjoys today.
The Way Realty Advisors

  Richard Kang leads a team of local visionaries and partners who not only developed the Asian Market Center in Carrollton, but also have helped to bring many successful Asian businessmen, restauranteurs, and entrepreneurs together throughout the DFW Metro-Plex and all the way to the East Coast.
  He talks about how Kyu M. Hwang was investigating the opportunity to bring Zion Markets to North Texas. It has taken three years of considering the best options and locations to entice the prominent West Coast Asian Market chain to plant their flag in Texas.
  When the opportunity to buy the former Sears building came up, all the stars had aligned! The Way Management was established and poised to bring the 38 restaurants, retailers, and professional services to round out the Metro Plex’s most dynamic Asian concept.
  Their team was already skilled with state and local regulations and had established relationships with the local authorities. 
  Richard Kang has been a resident of Lewisville for the past eighteen years as a realtor and property manager. His team not only developed the Carrollton Asian Center but also guides Multi-Use Development projects across DFW already.
  
  I asked Mr. Kang about how this all came to be. “Throughout my experience with Mr. Hwang, I was pleased to discover many things that made our partnership an easy decision. 
  It is obvious that the Hwang family have proven to be very successful businessmen. Not only have they been courteous and very approachable, but in addition, Kyu has proven to be extremely responsive in his follow-up and always good to his word. His heart is good.
  He has proven that he cares about his employees, his community, and his associates. It has been a pleasure to be involved with such a man. I expect this project to be a great success.”


  The former Sears building is a 150,000 sq. ft. two-story building with a prominent view of I-35.
  The flagship will be the 50,000 sq. ft. Zion Market on the ground level along with featured restaurants and access to family activity centers.
  The second level will include over 20,000 sq. ft. in restaurants, retail, and professional services. A total of 38 separate business will employ over 500 full-time staff.
  It is anticipated that the Asian influence will bring an average of 30,000 shoppers per week, 120,000+ monthly, you do the rest of the math!
  The economic impact could easily bring in $150 Million dollars to Lewisville by offering an extraordinary array of options and adventures for the North Texas communities.
  Trying to calculate the impact of traditional mall-goers with the opportunity to engage in Asian culture is impossible to anticipate. But given the way North Texans have embraced the foods of the Orient, this looks to be a new and exciting gateway to even more integration of cultures.

Like I said, Lewisville just hit the Jackpot!


- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962.

Friday

I always wear a hat!



 
'jelly beans'
by jb blocker

 i always wear a hat!


                                                                  i often
                                                               have ideas
                                                                 that are
                                                 much bigger than my brain.
                                                               who knows
                                                                 if my hat
                                                                   keeps
                                                              any of them
                                                from escaping.
 i just know that plenty stay inside.
                                                            i can feel them.
                                                         bouncing around.
                                               multi- colored, multi-flavored
                                                              jelly beans!
                                                    wantin out of their box.
                                              lookin for a  doorway to reality.
                                                              if i didn’t
                                                            wear a hat,
                                                i’d be scratching my head
                                                           all the time.



- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962. Email: jbnorthtexas@gmail.com 

Monday

Zion, the Promised Land

Another American Dreamer
By J.B.Blocker
  Kyu Hwang, pronounced Q, was 25 when he completed his 3-year service as a Corporal in the Air Borne Division of the South Korean Army.
  Along with his father, mother, and sister, the Christian South Korean family found sponsorship to the U.S. and a brighter future. In their homeland, they were among the very poor and like many of that time, the American dream was freedom of religion and the opportunity to find work. And work he did!
  In 1978, the family arrived in San Diego. The family spoke little English and Kyu began working in the back of a kitchen washing dishes. He worked many jobs and many hours over the next three years including becoming an insurance agent for New York Life before his opportunity to make his own path presented itself in a little empty building in San Diego. The growing local market demand for Asian produce welcomed the addition to the community.

Zion: A Biblical term for The Promised Land

  Kyu and his brother-in-law started their own family grocery store in a 2000 sq. ft. location in 1981. Zion Market was born! Under his guidance and determination, by 1985 revenues reached $56,000 monthly and grew $3000 every month over the next three years. In 2000, they added another 4000 sq. ft...    By 2002, the market moved to a 30,000 sq. ft. location.

Zion Market Center 1 is now occupying a 100,000 sq. ft. The Zion Market itself takes up 60,000 sq. ft. and employs over 120 full-time staff. Its annual revenues exceed $38 million dollars! 

  The other 40,000 sq. ft. holds 38 other vendors and professional services with revenues of around $12 million dollars.
  This Korean Center has been a welcomed fixture in San Diego supporting the vast Asian community that has grown around the Naval port. The years of servicemen spending tours of duty in Asia has created a warm reception for Asian cuisine and a growing and welcomed comfortable relationship with products of the Asian culture.

San Diego has a 2018 population nearing 1.5 million and over 15% of the residents are of Asian descent.
  The same can be said of Texas and the tens of

Saturday

'When East Meets West' Opportunities

A great opportunity for a massive Denton County, City of Lewisville, Music City Mall, and Zion Market to show what happens when 'East Meets West'.
Here's the scoop!
To find out how your business and professional services can be a part of the K-Pop Together Music and Food Festival, as Blondie says, "Call Me"!
Tap to enlarge
Tap the flyer, not your toes!
OK! You can tap your toes too.

















- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962.

Wednesday

Simply refreshing Gazpacho


Gazpacho
By J.B. Blocker
   When my eat healthy gene kicks in I have a tendency to go on auto-pilot when I grocery shop around the fresh produce section.  
  That is when the spirit of my recently passed chef mentor, the great French Master Chef Jean La Font speaks to me.
  “Gazpacho”, he whispers! 
It has become one of my go to dishes. My really healthy comfort food. It gets even better on day two and three but it rarely last that long. I don't even use a bowl. I fill a mug and add some chilled shrimp if I have it ready.

Sunday

Liver and Onions for Mom

  
jb blocker

  Liver and Onions? There was no escape when mom made liver and onions for dad. No excuses and no substitutions. As an adult, I no longer hate them.
  I ate lunch at Furr's Cafeteria in Plano on I-75 this weekend. I filled my plate with things my mom would have made. It's kinda like going to a Sunday pot luck dinner. I fill my plate with some of my childhood least favorites boiled cabbage, turnip greens, broccoli salad, jello salad, etc.. If they had Salmon Patties it would be complete. The meal is saved by a slice of roast beef, baked fish, and an average meatloaf. My mom's meatloaf became average when a former secretary Shiela Williams blew my mind.
  I make a point to get a nice helping of liver and onions smothered in the gravy. Some times throughout the year I go to Furr's with a friend, but at this time of year, I make to point to go on my own and take my time talking to my mother.
  Nancy Lea passed 20 years ago but continually rides on my shoulder. For those who knew her at Sunray Sunray Church of Christ. She was a Texas small town Martha Stewart and Barbara Walters rolled into a dust bowl Okie, WWII Wave, and author.


  I was her adopted Japanese, Irish, German, Korean, French personal project. No racism existed in her world. Cultures did. She embraced the world. We had friends from around the world from Navy days. When we reached America, for most of my childhood the only other 1/2 Asian I would know was my baby sister Eri.
   Mom owned a pottery and craft shop in our tiny town of less than 2000. Because of the Handicraft Shop in Sunray, I have committed knitting, crocheting, sewing, cooking, baking, cleaning, pottery, pouring molds, firing them off, painting Roosters and Pitcher/Bowl sets, macrame, and every other art or craft known to man in the '70s. I have read the Bible thoroughly, many times, as well as the dictionary, and encyclopedia. She made me read Lord Byron, Thoreau, Shakespeare and tested me on them. 

 
Mothers three favorite books.

  Nancy Blocker collected all of her Bible notes, lessons, maps, and drawings to publish Pearls in the Sand. She also hand wrote three cookbooks. She was proud of her penmanship and calligraphy.  I can easily read a book in a day, and because she convinced me that my brain would not explode, I still have 3 or 4 books going at a time. 

  I am proudly OCD and a library resides in my head because of MOM.
  I was sitting on the front porch this morning reading a historic western and listening to Con te Patiro by Andres Buchelli, which I am trying to learn. Because my mom drove me 40 miles twice a week for years to a voice teacher, I can sing arias in German, Russian, and many in Italian.
  Sometimes I feel her flick the back of my ear as she would often to show disapproval. She didn't chastise me openly, but that flick was a signal that we would be talking about this later. And that I was probably going to have some new Bible verses to memorize...


  So every mothers day weekend, I make sure to have lunch with mom.

- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962.