Cultural crossroads blossoming at Rancho Cordova’s Koreana Plaza

Cathie Anderson
Cathie Anderson

Developer Byong Yu just opened up his international food court at Koreana Plaza in Rancho Cordova, yet he’s already looking to the next big things he wants to bring to his complex at 10971 Olson Drive.

“The first of next year, we want to put in a full restaurant,” Yu said, “so people can come in and be served.”

Yu already has invested more than $22 million to double the size of Koreana to 78,000 square feet, adding not only the food court but also a live fish market, a tortilleria, a delicatessen and an expanded produce section. After operating the location for 10 years, Yu said, it became apparent to him that his culturally diverse clientele wanted a global village to meet their needs. In addition to the sit-down restaurant, Yu plans to add as many as 14 karaoke rooms that can be rented for parties and eventually a Korean-style sauna.

“It’s a spa where men and women go together, and they go to different areas to get a shower and enjoy the hot tub, and once they get out, they meet together in a big hall where there’s a steam sauna, a dry sauna, ... all of those things.”

Yu said his venue will attract a diverse consumer group, and it will appeal to families looking for a place to spend some leisure time. Increased traffic, he said, has made it clear that the concept is finding a market. His business now employs 140 people, up from 50 in 2011.

A political animal

If you pick up Jack Godwin’s latest book, “The Office Politics Handbook,” don’t expect a step-by-step guide to solving your headaches in the workplace. In fact, after reading it, you’ll know this isn’t a topic easily addressed or dismissed by bullet points.

The author, a political scientist and Sacramento State’s chief international officer, summons pop culture references such as “The Matrix” and Dilbert and breaks down loftier philosophies from works such as Plato’s “Republic” and “The Federalist Papers” to help his readers develop both their political instincts and imagination.

“If you study the book, here’s what you can do, and this is what I call situational awareness: You can read the field, read the players, calculate the power differential, consider the cost of inaction, meaning doing nothing, and then decide what you’re going to do and do it, all within the span of a few seconds,” Godwin said. “I think, if you study and practice, you can get good at it. It’s a skill you can learn.”

In his handbook ( Career Press, $15.95, 256 pages), Godwin makes his case for why politics are a necessary part of any organization. He shows the advantages of disengaging your emotional well-being from your work persona. He adopts a definition for leadership that centers on influence rather than control. And he defines eight political archetypes, including mentor, opportunist and resister, roles that his readers can either play or become adept at identifying.

Magic Johnson, Earvin Johnson, ... he was famous for the ‘no-look pass,’” Godwin said. “Remember that? On the fast break, he’d be running down the court with the ball in the Lakers uniform, and he would be looking at the basket or maybe looking at the defender, and he would flip the ball – left, right, sometimes behind him – and he fooled everybody: the players, the spectators, sometimes even the announcers. And that’s what I’m talking about when I say situational awareness. You’ve got the ball and running down the court, and you have to develop a strategy and execute it within a span of time.”

A brand for the ages

Nearly 250 people showed up at the Sacramento Brand-a-Thon last Friday to throw out ideas for a tagline that describes the Sacramento region, and PR honcho Christi Black-Davis told me that several big ideas emerged.

“The main thing that came from every group and they were all doing their own individual brainstorming was this idea of ‘growing,’” said Black-Davis, an executive vice president at Edelman. “There was a lot of similarity with the things that came out. We asked groups to come up with three words to describe the region and then a tagline or a slogan or something, and a lot of people had grow. It’s interesting. They liked the (idea) of grow like agriculture, of grow like businesses grow, of grow like grow your families here, of growing your neighborhoods or growing as a person or growing your career, so that was probably the overriding theme, with all those descriptors, ‘This is a place to grow.’”

Black-Davis, who sits on the Sacramento Metro Chamber board, pulled the massive brainstorming session together within a few weeks, with the help of co-organizers Christine Ault of Valley Vision and another chamber board member, Gordon Fowler, the chief executive of 3fold Communications.

The taglines that came out of the session are slowly making their way to www.facebook.com/sacbrandathon, and Black-Davis urged the region’s residents to go there, check them out and vote. She, Ault and Fowler will convene a meeting with volunteers representing each of the 30 tables that offered a tagline. Then they’ll ask the 250 Brand-a-Thon brainstormers back to discuss potential graphics and execution. Then, Black-Davis said, they’re going to ask the 40-and-under leaders in the chamber’s Metro Edge group to get involved in bringing the campaign to fruition.