Ngan Vu

Beloved student spot Good Nature Market, better known as GHeav, has experienced its high and lows over the past four years, including the departure of a “GHeav Josh” in 2019 and a racist incident over quarantine. 

In late April of 2019, GHeav employee Joshua Ham left his position at the deli. Ham had worked and bonded with hundreds of students over late night shifts. Ham wrote in a Facebook post that “everyone has a few choices … in their lives,” so he is “going to leave … [the market] where [he has] worked for seven years to try [his] other future.” Ham left GHeav and moved to New Hyde Park, New York, where he had recently bought a bagel shop called Bagel Haus. He planned to run the shop with his family.

“When you were stressed, it always felt good to hear Josh greet you as you walked through that door,” Brian Li ’21 told the News.

Ham immigrated from South Korea to the U.S. in 2001, and often manned the Gheav cashier station until the late hours of the night, especially on chaotic weekends. This was where students, fresh out of parties and other social events, came to the market for a late-night meal.

Many members of the class of 2021 expressed their sadness about Ham’s departure. 

“Josh is one of those people that you’re always excited to see because he instantly brightens your day,” said McKenzie Cooke ’21, a member of the volleyball team. “He has been one of Yale volleyball’s biggest supporters — coming to all our home games and even proudly displaying his autographed copy of the team poster behind the Gheav counter.”

A little over a year after Ham’s departure, the deli’s Broadway Street location came into the campus spotlight again in June 2020 when an employee denied entry to four Black men, stating that the store was closed, but then allowed several white people to enter afterward. 

The incident occurred amid ongoing rallies across the country protesting police brutality and systemic racism following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Yale students were made aware of the incident after screenshots of Terence Johnson’s Instagram post circulated on social media. The videos showed an Asian employee telling Johnson and three other friends that the store was closed. According to one of the four men, Wilby Martin Jr., a white man gained entry to the store about 15 minutes later, but decided not to buy anything after learning that the employee had denied entry to the four men. 

The market is typically open 24 hours a day.

“The way they treated me and my friends is no good, not in this society, not in 2020, not in New Haven,” Martin said. “To be treated like that, it’s absurd … What did we do wrong?”

In eight videos accompanying Johnson’s post, three of the men can be heard asking why they were not allowed into the store. The employee responded that his boss told him to not take any customers, aside from a handful of customers that come every night. 

“Yale stands by the men who experienced this discrimination and is grateful for the dignity they showed in a very trying circumstance,” University spokesperson Karen Peart wrote in an email to the News following the incident. 

According to Peart, the store’s ownership informed Yale that it regrets the actions of its employees and apologized for the incident.

In addition, the ownership also pledged to immediately implement an anti-discrimination training program for all employees at both of its locations. 

“We are committed to earning your trust. Now is a time for unity and we will do all we can to foster it. Please understand that we care,” read an apology issued by Good Nature Market management. 

The statement also offered an apology to the men, as well as to the “entire New Haven community.”

Days later, GHeav closed due to health violations that the city’s COVID-19 task force discovered when they inspected both of the deli’s locations, according to reporting from the New Haven Independent

The Independent detailed the violations that the inspectors found. Violations included live mice and roaches in Gheav’s facilities and expired food and food kept at hazardous temperatures. Inspectors also found other electrical and plumbing violations. These included illegal gas hooks and a “rat’s nest” of wiring.

Good Nature Market has locations at 15 Broadway and 44 Whitney Ave.

Alex used to cover all things the Divinity School. Now, she serves as Weekend Editor. She's a junior in Trumbull majoring in English.