Restaurants see business downturn and reinforce safety plans after salon attack

Bar and restaurant owners in the Asian Mall area, informally known in Dallas as “Old Koreatown” from Royal Lane and I-35, are experiencing a sharp drop in sales after three Korean women were injured in a shooting at the Hair World location. May 11 salon.

At a news conference the day after the shooting, Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said The circuit “confidently” ruled out hate as a motivating factor. By the next day, Garcia retracted his position, saying, “It’s a hate crime.” attack After two previous shootings in the area since April 2022.

Since the last shooting, business owners said they have noticed an increased police presence. The mobile watchtower in Asiana Plaza, where the Komart market and many Korean-owned companies are located, helps many feel safe. They hope the changes will continue, and at least one restaurateur and restaurant owner is preparing for the threat of violence by adding it to his collection of weapons.

Jonathan Kim says business is down nearly 70% at Gomonae, which specializes in Korean stews, less than half a mile from Hair World. Kim’s mother and uncle also work in the restaurant owned by his grandmother, Son Ja.

A week after the shooting, the family spoke to other business owners nearby and heard the same complaint: No customers.

The shooting was “a big scary for our family too,” Kim says, especially since his uncle was at Hair World just hours before the assault. Later, when Kim learned that the crime was directed at people of Asian descent, it was even more horrifying – “Not for me, but for my family who run a business there. What if this guy chose my grandmother’s restaurant that day?”

Kim points out that in South Korea, weapons are required by law to be registered and stored at local police stations. In general, guns are considered intimidating in Korean society, he says.

“When I visit Koreans, they always ask, ‘Are people getting shot there? Because that’s what they see in the news – gun violence. Kim’s usual response until May 11 was: “It happens, but never here.”

What we know about the man accused of shooting 3 women at a hair salon in Dallas
Encore Family Karaoke owner Jin Shin poses for his photo on Monday, May 23, 2022 at Encore Family Karaoke in Dallas. (Shafkat Anwar / Staff Photographer)

Another business owner, Jane Shen, who owns Encore Family Karaoke and is a co-owner of DanSungSa Dallas, is buying his third 9mm pistol to protect his employees, clients and fellow community members with whom he has worked for more than 20 years. The new rifle he will buy this week will produce a total of seven rifles, including a hunting rifle, which he keeps in the event of an emergency.

“We are not going to sit on our heels and get scared. We are preparing,” he says. “We have to protect ourselves. This is Texas. We’re allowed to.”

Shane, a former US Marine, says that if the shooting had occurred in his store, the perpetrator would have been shot.

“Here’s the thing with these cowards, they’re never going to a place where they’re going to run into. They go after women, like the old ladies of Hair World,” he says.

Shen’s two institutions have seen a “significant drop” in business since the May 11 incident. It is estimated that sales have fallen by about 50% at DanSungSa.

The recent shooting isn’t the first time Shane’s restaurants have been affected by crime.

In 2020, police arrested and charged a man who repeatedly smashed the windows of Korean-owned businesses in the area. He smashed windows at DanSungSa three times, costing $700 each time, and a judge ordered him to pay $780 in damages after serving his prison sentence, according to Shane.

“But that idiot got out of prison, and I didn’t see a cent,” he says.

In addition to guns, Shane owns 40 surveillance cameras at the Encore Family Karaoke. “You should [have cameras],” He says.

Shane adds that his employees are worried, and now the owners are faced with the task of reassuring their employees that they will be safe at work. He does so by hosting a lobster boil, where his staff, friends, and new cops have been invited to join in. He said, speaking of the increased presence and the Watchtower, “I don’t know how long that will last, but I hope it lasts forever.”

The Dallas Police Department observation suite overlooks the Hair World Salon parking lot...
The Dallas Police Department control stand overlooks the parking lot of the Hair World Saloon on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. Dallas police arrested a man earlier this morning in connection with last week’s shooting.(Rebecca Slezak/staff photographer)

Sung Kim, nicknamed “The Original Ambassador of the Ancient City of Korea” d . magazineAnd She owns one of the oldest Korean restaurants in Dallas, Korea House. The original Korean barbecue restaurant opened in Richardson in 1979, and a second location has been operating on Royal Lane since 1986.

Sung Kim’s daughter, Caroline Kim, said All companies feel financial loss at this time.

She describes Koreatown as an integral part of Dallas’ economic and cultural scene. Businesses in the region generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue, taxes and tourism each year — a “conservative estimate,” she says. “And it must be protected as such.”

Caroline attended a safety city council meeting hosted by the Dallas Police Department in the days following the shooting, but says she wants a “loud and clear” message from the city, local community and civic leaders.

“We deserve and need a strong condemnation from the highest levels against the hate of the AAPI, so that our communities know and understand that our region is a safe, protected and welcome place to visit,” she says.

The Dallas division of the FBI recently said that the number of hate crimes reported in Dallas does not match the “deep fear” of Asian American communities across the country.

As Jane Sheen says, “I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but all indications show it’s a hate crime.”

FBI says hate crimes go unreported in Dallas
Police stand outside the Hair World salon on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 in Dallas, Texas.  Dallas...
Police stand outside the Hair World salon on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. Dallas police arrested a man earlier this morning in connection with last week’s shooting.(Rebecca Slezak/staff photographer)

Beyond Koreatown

Asian Americans across Dallas-Fort Worth are increasingly concerned since the shooting, and not just in Koreatown off Royal Lane.

Sarah Park, owner of Corian Street Eats in Carrollton, instructed her employees on emergency safety protocols after the Hair World incident. She’s noticed a slight drop in work, and says she feels “on edge” now. It’s a feeling she’s had since the coronavirus pandemic began, and xenophobic messages from politicians have escalated violence against Asian Americans.

I noticed a new police tower stationed outside the H Mart in Carrollton last week. “We feel fortunate that our Carrollton corner is undergoing more patrols, but we feel a lot of pain for our brothers and sisters who have businesses outside of Royal Lane,” she says.

Justin Rojas, a Dallas-born Filipino American who works to promote Asian American animation and pop culture through his Nishi Fest event, says he’s also growing anxious. Attended the Oak Cliff Food Festival hosted by the Asian Grub at DFDUB three days after filming Hair World. He says he felt the need for an emergency exit plan and saw a heightened awareness of his surroundings.

“I had thoughts that I wouldn’t normally have… and I had to think about things I wouldn’t normally think of.”

He attended the food festival and has continued to sponsor Koreatown restaurants since the shooting to show his support for the “Unintended Giant Community” created by the Asian Grub at DFDUB. It’s a new sense of community that he says wasn’t there when he was growing up.

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