Iconic Lotte Market says goodbye to Germantown


Photo Courtesy of Lotte Plaza

The Germantown Lotte Plaza has been open since the 1990s, attracting customers with its Asian groceries and produce.

By Collin Chen, Online Editor

Nov. 27th marks the permanent closure of the beloved Lotte Plaza Market in Germantown. Since 1976, Lotte Plaza Market has strived to be the premier source for Asian groceries in Maryland and Virginia. The market has grown from a single location in 1989 to 12 stores throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. Like the other locations, the Germantown Lotte carried a wide variety of international products from Korea, India, China, and South East Asia to satisfy the large Asian population in Montgomery County. In addition, its sushi bar, food court, and Chinese deli have brought smiles to customers including many WCHS students.

“I’ve been going to Lotte since I was little,” WCHS sophomore Laura Jablonover said. “Whenever my mom took me to grab her usual groceries, I would roam around the store picking up anything that looked tasty to me. This included rice cakes, shrimp chips, pocky, seaweed, and more.”

Many WCHS students are attracted by all the delicious snacks and foods, but some are also drawn by the kind employees. Senior Jonathan Kim remembers becoming close with one of the Germantown workers.

“I know about Lotte from going on grocery runs with my mom,” J. Kim said. “There was always this one lady who worked there and she gave me free food every time she saw me and we became good friends and still are.”

Similarly, WCHS freshman Elizabeth Kim has grown up in the Germantown area and has fond memories with the employees.

“I’ve lived around the same area for 7-8 years of my childhood,” E. Kim said. “My favorite memories were visiting the seafood section and the manager would always give us extra things and talk to me and my mom. I enjoyed seeing the live crabs and lobsters in the tanks.”

After an announcement by a representative from the Lotte in Germantown confirming the store’s closing, WCHS families were shocked and saddened. Jablonover will especially miss the happy memories from eating warm noodles with her mom.

“My family was pretty upset to hear the news,” Jablonover said. “I will miss eating at the black noodle restaurant and enjoying conversations with my mom as we ate. I also have many friends and their families who are just as disappointed as we are. A big portion of my culture is the food and I will always cherish the meals I had at Lotte.”

There is no confirmation as to why the location closed, but the Lotte Plaza Business has remained stable and are predicted to add more stores across the DMV. With that said, senior Konnor Lee believes that the Asian presence in the county will continue to exist through other Lotte locations and Korean grocery stores.

“It’s a shame, really,” Lee said. “I’m sure the Asian community will feel some sadness seeing Lotte go, but there are plenty of other great Korean markets like Korean Korner and H-Mart,”

It is obvious that Lotte has been a large portion of WCHS students’ lives. But despite its physical presence leaving, the memories made there will live strongly in the hearts of the Asian community.

“Lotte Mart was like childhood nostalgia, and I would visit there often, even after I moved to Potomac,” E. Kim said. “It’s still an amazing place that selled many foods that my family cherished.”