CRF Blog

My Korean Deli

by Bill Hayes

Ben Ryder Howe’s My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store tells the story of how he and his wife (both highly educated professionals) decided to buy and run a convenience store to pay back all the sacrifices his mother-in-law Kay had made for the family. The New York Times calls the book “a rollicking, made-for-the-movies story in a wonderfully funny deadpan style.”

From the New York Times Book Review:

It’s immediately clear that no one except Kay, who for 20 years has been a clerk at various 7-Elevens and Stop ’n’ Gos, is the least bit suited to working at a convenience store, let alone running one. Aside from a summer job pumping gas, Howe has never done manual work and neither, presumably, have generations of his deeply WASP family, which remained so tied to the Plymouth Bay Colony that it stayed in Massachusetts for nearly 400 years. Unlike Dwayne, the longtime employee of the store in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, that the family eventually buys, who has a gift for knowing when city inspectors are descending for a sting, Howe has a sixth sense that isn’t much use: “I can look at someone and tell if they’ve been to boarding school.” [more]