WESTLAKE : Free Lunch Builds Merchants' Goodwill

Nearly 1,000 local residents were served a free turkey lunch recently thanks to Korean American merchants who hope a little goodwill will go a long way.

This was the third Thanksgiving lunch organized by Ken Lee, the owner of three markets in the Westlake area.

"I've been in business here for 10 years, and most of these people are my customers," Lee said as he looked at the line of people waiting to be served at one of the tables on blocked-off Westlake Avenue between 6th and Maryland streets. "They're like my family."

Lee talked to other local Korean American merchants who wanted a way to show their appreciation to their customers. "I gave them a chance to support this," Lee said, "and they were ready."

Additional support for the Nov. 20 event came from the Korean American Chamber of Commerce, Fedco and other wholesale suppliers, local churches and businesses and the Rampart Division of the Police Department.

Harrison Kim, executive director of the chamber, said the event was a step toward helping merchants and their customers overcome stereotypes of one another.

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