We had the good fortune of connecting with Phillip & Karen Hang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Phillip & Karen, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My wife Karen and I always dreamt about running our own business but never could figure out what it would be. She comes from a service industry background and I’ve always enjoyed building rapport and connecting with individuals. After some light discussions of various businesses, we stumbled upon a failing restaurant business for sale. We talked about it for several weeks and kept thinking to ourselves if we could really rebrand this business and turn it around. We are so glad we decided to go into this industry because now after (almost) 3 years, we’ve been invited into the community and have built something special for the city of West Covina. We love connecting with our customers and learning more about them everyday. People are always scared to take that leap of faith into something they have no idea about. But the truth is, if not now, when? When you pour your soul into something, you won’t let it fail. You’ll do anything you have to, to make it work, and that’s exactly what we did. Was it easy? No. But did we grow and develop ourselves while doing it? Yes. And I think that’s the most important part. It’s the process. Success doesn’t come easily, but you really get what you put into it.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
You know, when we first set out to open a restaurant, customer service and food quality was our top priority. We all know how we want to be treated and catered to when we dine out, so we took all of that into consideration and added our own twist to it. You’ll really have to dine in to get the full experience. Whether you’re having a simple dinner with some friends, or having a full on celebration, we’re here every step of the way to ensure that you and your party have a memorable time. Want to catch sports over some sushi and an ice cold beer? We got you! Aside from the good vibes, we really put thought and time into our specialty rolls. A lot of times you get rolls with the basic California or spicy tuna base, but we definitely put our own twist into make our rolls unique with a myriad of flavors so your taste buds go off the charts. Sauce is really important too, and because of that we make all of our sauces in-house. Happy customers and great feedback is really what keeps us motivated. It definitely wasn’t easy to get to where we are today, and we still have so much more to accomplish. We were coming off a very strong first year as a business and then COVID changed everything. Our business model wasn’t really built out for something like that and we had to pivot, and do it quickly to stay afloat. Granted, COVID taught us a lot and also proved to us that the support we get from our customers and the community around us was worth it. This pushed us even harder to provide delicious food during dark unprecedented times. What we really did was to try and create the same delicious food that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home. It worked. Some lessons learned along the way was to continue doing what you do and the people around you will support you because they love what you do and want you around. It was also a huge thing to try and take mental breaks and take a step back and look at what you have accomplished through one of the toughest times for the entire world. We survived, and it really means we have something here. Setting goals along the way is really the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. Go out there and work and fight for what you want!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ha! That’s a good question. We really haven’t been anywhere in the last 16 months because of COVID, but the first place we would take them is to SushiMe Roll’n for some delicious sushi! We’d definitely also hit some rooftop bars in downtown LA, and then obviously all the top favorite tourist attractions like Hollywood I guess. One place that I think is often overlooked and close by is Catalina Island. We were there recently, and it’s such a good spot to go to get away from the city and relax. If you want to have fun or be out in the water, everything there is easily accessible. Some great sightseeing and outdoor activities as well. Also, we really like Disney Land, but that can get crazy sometimes. Beaches are always nice spots to hang out as well!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honesty, there’s a lot of people. Big shout out to all of our customers, friends, and especially our families for their continued support. We wouldn’t be here today without them. To our customers: thank you for trusting us, continuing to support throughout the pandemic and beyond. You are the real reason we continue to do what we do today, because you helped us keep the lights on, you helped us stay afloat in every way you possibly can, and you continue to support post-pandemic. To our friends who never doubted us since the beginning and offering words of encouragement during the toughest times, we appreciate you. And to our family and parents: you are the back-bone of all of this. Thank you for making sacrifices in life so that we have this opportunity. Thank you for lending a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen on those long nights. Lastly, thank you to our employees who have worked so tirelessly over the years and especially to those that stuck around at the beginning of the pandemic. We are literally working with the smallest skeleton staff, and know it is easy to burnout. We truly, deeply appreciate every single person who has supported us, even in the smallest way possible.