CLOVER HILL — It took more than two months, but Dry River Store has reopened.
The store — the only one serving the rural Clover Hill community — closed following the shooting death of Eun Sim Kim, 51, during a mid-February robbery at the store. Her husband, and the store’s co-owner, Jae Young Kim, 54, suffered a severe head injury during the attack.
Since then, their 27-year-old son, Paul Kim, took it upon himself to make sure that the business at 1228 Clover Hill Road would reopen. That goal was accomplished Monday.
“I’m running the store to pay for his hospital bill,” he said, speaking of his father.
Jae Young Kim, taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville for treatment after the shooting, recently returned to Harrisonburg, where he lives, to begin rehabilitation.
“Rehab is a phenomenal thing,” Paul Kim said, describing it as “the first step moving forward” in a two- to three-year process.
“He’s learning how to speak again and walk better,” Paul Kim said, noting his father is suffering from appraxia, the inability to speak what one wants to say. “He’s pretty much like a baby. He’s aware of what’s going on.”
Paul Kim has been running in triangles over the past couple of months, literally.
A Web developer by trade, he spent time in the morning getting the Clover Hill store ready to reopen. In the afternoon he would head to Charlottesville to help translate for his dad, a Korean immigrant. In the evening, he headed to Herndon for his job before starting the entire routine over again the next day.
“I was supposed to open [the store] April 15,” he said. “It was a lot of work. … My mom and dad put a lot of effort into the store, and I didn’t want to throw it away.”
He hired four new employees and rehired one.
In addition, his uncle, Charlie Lee, will help manage the store. His sister, Angie, a freshman at the University of Virginia, has been helping watch her father, too. She will help with her dad and the store once her term ends next month.
A number of locals took advantage of the reopening Monday, with the store doing a brisk business at 4:30 p.m. Among the customers were Patricia Simmons, 46, and her husband, who stopped to purchase gasoline.
“We’re glad we don’t have to run into town for gas,” she said.
The couple lives in Brandywine, W.Va., and works at Virginia Poultry Growers Co-Op in Hinton. Gas in West Virginia costs 40 cents more per gallon than the $3.39 a gallon they paid Monday at Dry River Store.
“We stop here at least once a week,” she said.
Larry Knight, 52, of Hinton, said he’s known Jae Young Kim since he and his wife purchased the store several years ago.
“He was a real good businessman,” Knight said.
“Like everyone else, I loved the Kims,” said Darryl Suter, 57, of Singers Glen. “They are the only [Asian] people I ever met who could fit in with all the local color around here.”
Javon Lamont Arrington, 21, of Richmond, was arrested March 28 and charged with six felonies in connection with the Feb. 15 shooting of the Kims.