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Tucked away in a nondescript business plaza off of buzzy Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of Koreatown, you will find Open Market. It’s a bit of an odd duck compared to the other businesses, it’s warm and inviting storefront stands in contrast to the drab corporate offices that populate the business park. Not just a market, it also serves as a cafe and coffee shop to provide a quick bite and pick-me-up for office workers and locals alike.
Walking through the front door, the first thing you notice is how open (very appropriate) and airy the store is. White walls, light-colored wood and hits of royal blue provide a visual framework for the interior. Locally-sourced products neatly line the shelves on one side of the store, with the other side dedicated to a large selection of wine, beer and spirits. A long table in the center of the room provides a place for diners to nosh and sip their lattes.
Since opening their doors last year, the interior layout of Open Market has been in constant flux, the owners have been altering the space to suit needs of the business and its clients; adapting to the ever-changing backdrop provided by the pandemic. In the beginning, it served as a hub for locals to buy everything they needed to stock their pantries and fridges, even supplying fresh produce at one point. But as regulations changed and mandates were lifted, the focus of the business shifted. When in-person dining resumed, the popularity of their sandwiches skyrocketed, necessitating the placement of the aforementioned table, where large shelves stocked with products once stood. Local art adorns the walls, and a small selection of cookbooks and food-oriented books are scattered about the interior, available for purchase.
While it doesn’t offer the same bounty of essentials that it used to, Open Market remains a popular place for people to grab a bite, buy some locally-sourced goods, or pick up a nice bottle of wine. More importantly, it has shown that it has the versatility to adapt to an ever-changing retail landscape, as well as the needs of the community.