Shopping Centers Today International

APR 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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t may surprise some to learn that the founders of a'gaci, a fashion chain with wide appeal among Hispanic women, are of Korean heritage, not Hispanic. in fact, this appeal began among women of specifically mexican background, because the chain originated in san antonio. But David Won, who co-founded the chain in 1971 with his brother, John, says he sees cross-cultural similarities. this is particularly so because, according to him, both groups tend to be family-oriented, and their women have an equal zeal to be fashion- able. "the mexican culture is very similar to the Korean in many ways," he said, "so we feel very comfortable working with them." — 63 percent of san antonio's popula- tion of about 1.4 million falls into that group — and this expertise was then ap- plied to other Hispanic markets, starting with austin, texas, in 1974. "today we are in every city along the mexico-texas border," said David, the partner who speaks throughout this arti- cle. indeed, the chain operates 65 stores across the u.s., and in puerto rico and Venezuela — all but one of them in malls. at press time the company was planning entry into mexico, weigh- ing whether to use franchised stores, a joint venture or corporate-owned stores. a'gaci is also scouting opportunities in asia and the middle east. "We are going to be very selective in how we do business in order to ensure the successful launch of our brand in the mexican market," said Jeff yoo, the re- I traveling in style A'gAci is betting on internAtionAl demAnd for its lAtinA fAshion By María Bird Picó r e t a I l I n g t o d a y 38 S C t / A p r i l 2 0 1 6 the brothers came to the u.s. when they were still in their 20s. they bought a small clothing store in downtown san antonio that they expanded into a chain they later renamed a'gaci — a Korean term for an upper-class, fash- ionable young woman. a'gaci quickly became expert at catering to Hispanics

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