Find Posts By Topic

From pop-up to full-time: Anyoung Super highlights Asian American makers

As Youn Chung restocks her Asian American food and lifestyle superette, Anyoung Super, she takes care to make sure every item is visible. She sees it as more than selling Asian American specialty goods; it’s a way to tell the stories about the people behind the products.

“I get really excited by learning about these products, the stories, and the people behind them,” said Chung. “And just really being able to share that with other folks.”

Chung showcasing some of her specialty items.

A riff on the corner stores in Korea and across Asia, Anyoung Super is nestled inside OHSUN Banchan Deli and Café in Pioneer Square. It features children’s books with Asian American and Pacific Islander representation, specialty drinks, instant noodles, teas, jewelry and prints by local artists, and more.

Owning a food business was always a dream for Chung and her husband. They knew owning a restaurant wasn’t for them, so they weren’t sure what options they had for running a food business that doesn’t serve prepared food. Chung says her “aha” moment came when they lived in Berkeley, CA, across the street from a specialty food store. 

“Like many places, it was very Eurocentric. They had beautiful pastas, chocolates, pastries, and things like that. It dawned on me, ‘Why don’t we have this for Asian foods?’” she said.

Over time, she kept making observations about what different grocery stores carried and thinking through the concept of a specialty Asian foods store. Then one day, an ad for Seattle Restored came across her Instagram feed.

In partnership with Shunpike and Good Business Network, our Seattle Restored program matches small businesses and artists with vacant commercial spaces. By filling empty storefronts with pop-up shops, long-term leases, and art installations, the program is bringing a unique retail experience to Downtown.

Chung decided to apply and was accepted. She opened the pop-up Hyphen Asian Food and Culture with a business partner in January 2022 in Belltown. This allowed Chung to prototype her idea.

Display featuring Asian specialty items.

“I had this idea of a deli space with freshly scooped miso, soy sauce tastings, and shelves and shelves of different salts and seasonings,” she explained. “Seattle Restored gave us the opportunity to try that out, on that scale, right off the bat.”

In the seven months of running Hyphen, Chung learned a lot. For starters, her idea had legs and potential to grow as a business. She also learned that running a shop full-time wasn’t the right business model for her and her family at the time. Through Seattle Restored, Chung met Sara, the owner of OHSUN.

“She mentioned she had this area that she was having trouble keeping up with the curation and maintaining inventory. She gave me the space to try this different business model,” said Chung.

Anyoung Super opened in September of last year. Along with curating the goods on the shelves, Chung hosts events in partnership with OHSUN. Every month she offers up a corner of her superette to a local artist to display their goods and fill the vending machines.

The business model is proving successful, with Chung opening a second location inside Hood Famous in the Chinatown-International District this month. Chung also met the owner through a program for Seattle Restored graduates.

“I think the business model spoke to her because she also had a space she was having a hard time keeping up with,” said Chung.

Chung restocking her drink refrigerator.

Since Anyoung Super is a nod to corner stores in Korea, Chung decided to honor Hood Famous’ Filipino culture.

“The owner was talking about how in the Philippines they have Sari-Sari stores. I wanted to honor the host business,” said Chung. “So we’ve collaborated to create a Sari-Sari branch over there.”

By using her shop to highlight Asian American businesses and artists, Chung realized she’s actively representing Asian Americans. Growing up in suburban Pennsylvania in the 80s, Chung says there weren’t a lot of people who looked like her. Because of that, making sure other Asian Americans feel represented is important to her.

“In my mind, I had to be an actor or an elite athlete. As a store owner and populating spaces with objects that reflect our culture and our point of view, that really spoke to me,” Chung explained.

Seattle Restored is a partnership between the Seattle Office of Economic Development, Seattle Good Business Network, and Shunpike. The program matches small business owners and artists with vacant commercial storefronts to host pop-up shops and art installations. These shops and installations benefit neighborhoods, small businesses, artists, and property owners by creating vibrant and engaging streetscapes that encourage people to visit Downtown Seattle and other commercial corridors.

Seattle Restored is fulfilling Mayor Harrell’s Downtown Activation Plan by creating a unique Downtown retail experience and making Downtown a top destination for Seattleites and visitors year-round.

Applications for businesses and artists interested in Seattle Restored are open until Thursday, June 30, 2024 at 8 p.m. PT. Learn about the requirements and apply.