Immigration South Australia
John Lee's family photo

A journey from engineer to specialist Korean supermarket owner

Arranging the brilliantly coloured packets, bottles and cans, with Korean labels in his grocery shop, John Lee is excited to talk about his new journey and career transformation in Adelaide.

John’s business, in a prime location opposite the Adelaide Central Market, has attracted people from all cultural backgrounds to scan the shelves and ingredients stocked within his shop.

“Many Japanese, Chinese, and even local Australians are my regular customers,” John said.

Unbelievably, John was a former electrical engineer in Korea just three years ago, and was called Jaewoung. In order to relate to his customers and for ease of business transactions, John anglicised his name.
Taking a huge gamble, John decided to enter the retail market in the hope of providing a better education for his two daughters, and a brand new life for his family.

In 2012, John moved to South Australia following South Australian State sponsorship for his 163 visa. His eldest daughter finished her high school education in South Australia, and is now studying at RMIT University; his younger daughter attends Glenunga High school in Adelaide. John has also enrolled in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) as a local education provider.

“I like fitting in and making more friends. Better English will be good for my future business plan and expansion,” John said with a grin.

On the store shelves are Asian spice, dehydrated seaweed sheets and imported tofu, Korean soy sauce and a wide range of Kimchi. These products are available for people who love to explore Korean flavours.

“I am proud that my shop can offer a taste of home for the Korean community in Adelaide,” John said. “These brands can be a comforting reminder of home, especially for international students, who are here away from their family.”