Known for its subtropical climate, sandy beaches, and abundance of entertainment options, it’s no surprise that Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. And with many people relocating during the pandemic, it brought a wave of transplants to the coastal city to set up shop on a permanent basis.
Among the newcomers are Linda Lee and Sung Chun, two longtime family friends who came together to launch their own Korean-style restaurant: Mura Bar and Bakery, which is scheduled to open during the summer of 2023.
When Chun moved to Myrtle Beach, she intended to pursue a career in real estate. She even obtained her license, but plans changed. She found herself working in a familiar setting: the food industry.
As Chun observed the population growth taking place around her, she noticed the city was becoming a melting pot. Yet there seemed to be a lack of Asian cuisine in the area. As a person of Korean descent with experience in the food sector, she decided to take action and open a restaurant with Lee.
Finding a different perspective
Lee and Chun had the vision, but next they needed financing. They tried several options, including brokers, investors, and other lenders, but little progress was being made toward a loan. Then, after months of trying, they were referred to CRF.
“With CRF, I felt that we had someone in our corner that was looking at our business from a different perspective,” Chun said. “CRF provided organized direction which outlined what documents we needed for the loan process and how to submit them.”
In working with CRF, Lee and Chun received an SBA 7(a) loan for construction on their business space, to purchase equipment, inventory, and for working capital.
Now, they are hard at work preparing the restaurant for opening.
A new and welcoming experience
Mura Bar and Bakery will feature Asian staples such as milk bread and Bibimbap, using a unique delivery method: a conveyor belt.
The conveyer belt lets guests select small dishes from a moving platform, allowing them to try a variety of menu items during the dining experience. Plus, the design of smaller plates is also intended to reduce food waste that often takes place in the restaurant industry.
And while food is the focus of the business, Lee and Chun hope that it will serve an even greater purpose in the community. They want Mura Bar and Bakery to be a place where people can come and learn about other cultures and have open discussions about their differences.
They also want it to be a place where employees look forward to coming to work every day and can discover their true passions. They are grateful for the opportunity they found to pursue their own dreams, and they are eager to pay it forward.
“We’re the underdogs. We’re 100 percent underdogs of this area,” Chun said. “We’re not from here, our food is not from here. And we’ve been given a great chance and we’re excited to do the same for others.”