Future of Scheele's Market Nearly Certain
With community support, the neighborhood grocery store will live on under new ownership
Scheele's Market's future is closer to being a certainty now that a new grocer has been secured to run the store at 1331 29th Street.
Dongjuk Kim signed a new 10-year lease with the option of a five-year extension with property owner Jordan O'Neill, according to a newsletter from the Friends of Scheele's. Kim will take over ownership from Shin K. and Kye S. Lee, who have run the Georgetown Market for more than 20 years, but recently decided to retire.
Before Kim came into the picture, neighbors were concerned that the market would cease to exist.
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The Friends of Scheele's is a group of committed community members, including Mike Peabody and Marilyn Melkonian, have been working tirelessly with the property owner, Jordan O’Neill, to ensure that a small grocery store can thrive at 1331 29th Street.
Though he could, by right, develop the space into a large, single-family home, O'Neill has worked with the Friend's of Scheele's to help maintain a part of East Village history.
"You wouldn’t meet folks if you were just getting into you car and going to your house," he told Patch in a previous interview. At Scheele's, "You run into people in the store and shake their hand and you get to know people."
O'Neill agreed to keep the property as a grocery store for the next 15 years with financial support from the community.
Friends of Scheeles’s agreed to fund a $70,000 covenant for the space including a renovation of the property. The group has already made its first payment of $20,000 towards that agreement.
In a recent newsletter, Friends of Scheele's announced a neighborhood block party. The event will serve as a "farewell" to the Lees, a welcome to Kim and O'Neill and a way to raise the remaining $50,000 in funds. The final payment for the covenant is due June 30.
The block party will take place June 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. on 29th Street between Dumbarton and O Streets.
RSVP and sponsorship information for the block party can be found in the PDF that accompanies this story.