ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Florida's first Lotte Plaza Market is open for business in Orlando.
Lotte is an upmarket Korean grocery store chain whose grand opening might not be as noteworthy if it happened in Winter Park or I-Drive. This pan-Asian superstore decided to set up shop on West Colonial Drive, which is not far form Pine Hills.
Regina Hill, the Orlando City Commissioner, says that that corner had "been blighted for at least five or six years."
Hill represents the area and she is thrilled that Lotte choose to open its doors there. "It's been overwhelming for the community to see all different cultures coming to one spot," she says.
People form all walks of life are packing the parking lot and aisles in a place that once did not have a community supermarket.
The store has a lot of specialty foods, especially Asian ones, that cannot be found in a lot of other local stores. They also have a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at competitive prices.
The mix of products has been bringing customers in. Katrina Larry says that "I just walked in the door, but it seems that they're a little cheaper than Publix."
Out-of-towners are also welcomed to the store for hard-to-find foods. Matt Graham says that "we usually come to Orlando for Trader Joe's and Costco because we live by Cape Canaveral."
Lotte officials and store managers are happy to hear this. Alvin Lee, the Lotte Plaza Markets President, says that "we're open to all different communities in Orlando. This location is reflective of that."
The store has about 80 workers from the community. They hope it can be an anchor local growth.
Regina Hill says that the "people from all over coming here to Lotte will want to invest in the stores and this district."