携手共进, 小企业撑起费城唐人街的未来!

本文是“社区之声”系列文章的第四篇。“社区之声”是由新主流传媒公司与费城华埠发展会(PCDC)合作开发,并得到独立公共媒体基金会的支持。

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周喆生2

携手共进,

小企业撑起费城唐人街的未来!

United in progress,

small businesses are shaping the future of Philadelphia’s Chinatown!

作者/Reporter: 李蓓

英文校对/Proofreading: Keano Tsao

 

本文是“社区之声”系列文章的第四篇。“社区之声”是由新主流传媒公司与费城华埠发展会(PCDC)合作开发,并得到独立公共媒体基金会的支持。

This is the fourth in a series of “Community Voices” articles developed by New Mainstream Press in partnership with the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, with support from the Independence Public Media Foundation.
站在费城唐人街街头,你能看到很多挂着中英文双语牌匾,鳞次栉比的小店。这些店铺为华裔和亚裔群体提供了日常生活所需的方方面面。在本篇《社区之声》的采访中,我们将和四位在费城唐人街“打拼”的华人小企业主对话,分享他们的创业故事,了解他们对唐人街生存和发展的想法。

Standing on the streets of Philadelphia’s Chinatown, you can see numerous shops adorned with bilingual signs in both Chinese and English. These establishments cater to the everyday needs of the Chinese and Asian communities. In this article of ‘Community Voices,’ we will engage in conversations with four Chinese small business owners who are making their mark in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. They’ll share their stories, offering local perspectives on survival and growth in Chinatown.

 

 

许旻:能在唐人街开诊所,是我的幸运

Min Xu: Opening a clinic in Chinatown is a fortunate opportunity for me.

 

许旻医生是我们此次采访中唯一一位女性。她的知性,温婉,干练和专业,是很多女企业家的缩影。当年伴着“出国潮”来到美国的她,对自己的未来并没有一个明确的规划。2014年,她接手了位于费城唐人街的华夏眼科诊所,到现在,她已经为费城华人社群服务了快10年。

Dr. Xu Min is the only woman among those we interviewed in this article. Her intellect, grace, efficiency, and professionalism epitomize the many female entrepreneurs striving for a successful business in Philadelphia Chinatown. When she came to the United States during the wave of immigration, she didn’t have a specific plan for her future. In 2014, she took over “Central City Eyecare” located in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Since then, she has been serving the Chinese community in Philadelphia for nearly 10 years.许旻

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese
“我现在还记得第一次来费城唐人街,是在2005年。我当时觉得费城唐人街很大,感觉比华盛顿的唐人街还要更大一些。我发现费城唐人街里竟然有中文书店,餐馆也有很多的选择。感觉太亲切了。”费城唐人街给许旻留下的美好初印象,成为她后来决定在这里安家立业的重要原因。
“I still remember my first visit to Philadelphia’s Chinatown, it was in 2005. I felt that Philadelphia’s Chinatown was quite extensive, even larger than Washington DC’s Chinatown. I was surprised to find Chinese  bookstores and a wide variety of restaurants here in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. It felt so familiar and welcoming.” This initial wonderful impression Dr. Min Xu had became one of the most significant reasons that she later decided to settle and establish herself here.
“这些年我能看到费城唐人街的变化,比如最近开了很多奶茶店,不同口味的餐馆也越来越多,但是很可惜,我真没有太多的时间去逛。”每周二到每周六,许旻都会在唐人街的诊所出诊,90%的病人都是华人。
“I’ve seen changes in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, like the recent increase in bubble tea shops and the growing variety of restaurants with different flavors. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to explore.” From Tuesday to Saturday, Dr. Xu practices at the clinic in Chinatown, where 90% of the patients are Chinese.

因为太忙,许医生一整天都扎在诊室中,中午也不休息。“我们的客人有住在唐人街的,还有从东北区过来的,费城远郊也有。很多人觉得如果不能用中文交流好像隔了一层,哪怕有翻译或者有子女陪着。所以很多华人宁可跑更远的路也愿意过来,因为觉得我们可以为他们解释得更加清楚。”

Dr. Xu is so busy that she spends the whole day in the consultation room without taking a break at lunchtime. “Our patients come from Chinatown, some from the Northeast area, and even from the suburbs of Philadelphia. Many patients feel that if they can’t communicate in Chinese, language barrier is always a problem, even with translators or accompanied by their children. Many Chinese patients prefer to travel further because they believe we can explain things more clearly.”
每天面对眼睛出了问题来向她求助的病人,原本温柔和细致的许旻变得更加有耐心,甚至是佛系了。“为社区服务的时候,要有耐心。特别是一些老年人,很多人都不知道自己眼睛是什么状况,或者有各种焦虑和健忘。如比老人家来配眼镜,配好了以后,很多人说镜框不是自己挑的那一个。在这种情况下,我们会让他们拍一张照片,但是有很多老人看着照片也说,我们给他们换镜框了,发生了很多次,我们只能是耐心,再耐心。我理解这些,因为自己也有变老的时候。”
As she assists patients seeking help for eye problems every day, Dr. Xu, naturally gentle and meticulous, has become even more patient, almost Zen-like. “When serving the community, patience is essential. Especially with the elderly, many of them are unaware of their eye conditions or suffer from various anxieties and forgetfulness. For instance, when fitting glasses for older individuals, even after we’ve completed the fitting, many claim that the frame isn’t the one they chose. In such cases, we ask them to take a photo, but often, even after looking at the photo, they insist we changed their glasses. It happens a lot, and all we can do is be patient—patient and patient. I understand these situations, because everyone will be a senior someday.”

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese
“有的时候只是一个很小的问题,他们并不知道怎么办,我用非常简单的方法就解决了,有时可能只是需要一副眼镜。这对我来说,是很有成就感的事情”。虽然作为一位小企业主需要处理账目、税务、员工和收益等等更多问题,许医生还是更喜欢自己服务病人的时刻。
“Sometimes, it’s a very simple issue they’re unaware of, and I solve significant problems with straightforward methods. Sometimes, it might just be needing a pair of glasses. This brings me a lot of satisfaction and happiness.” Although being a small business owner inevitably involves dealing with accounts, taxes, staff, and profits, Dr. Xu prefers her role as an ophthalmologist.
“在这里呆久了,患者就像家人一样。在出诊的时候也会聊一些家常。比如说很多人家里的孩子,每年都会来检查眼睛或者配眼镜,这些年,我看着这些孩子长大,甚至能记着住他们隐形眼镜的种类。唐人街是一个大的家庭,我也是其中一员。”
“Having been here for a long time, patients are like families. During consultations, we also talk about daily life. Many families bring their children for eye check-ups or to get glasses every year. Over the years, I’ve watched these children grow up, and I can even remember the types of contact lenses they wear. Chinatown is a big family, and I’m just one part of it.”

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese
回顾在美国的这些年,许旻医生的目光变得深沉了,和付出相比,她觉得自己获得的更多。“我出国的这20多年,正是中国飞速发展的时间。有人说‘你错过了在中国暴富的机会’,但是我并不同意这种说法。能有机会为华人社区来服务,我觉得非常幸运。因为我接受了医科的高等教育,但是之前一直没有机会回报社会,现在可以为在海外的华人社区服务,真的很幸运。对我而言,我个人的成长远远超过年轻时的预期和想像,我变成了一个更好的自己。”
Looking back on these years in the States, Dr. Xu’s expression has become solemn. In comparison to her dedication, she feels she has gained much more. “Over 20 years ago when I left China, it was a time when China was rapidly developing. Someone says, ‘You missed the chance to get rich in China.’ However, I don’t agree with that. I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to serve the Chinese community, because I received a higher medical education. Previously, I didn’t have the chance to give back to the community. Personally, my personal growth has far exceeded the expectations and imaginations of my youth; I have become a better version of myself.'”
 

 

周喆生:白手起家打拼43年,没有唐人街就没有“生记”

Michael Chow:

Working hard for 43 years: there wouldn’t be Sang Kee without Chinatown.”

 

在洒满阳光的初冬下午,一位面容谦和的长者热情地招呼我们在费城唐人街生记的二楼坐下。他还向我们介绍,墙上挂着的这些国画都是出自他夫人李灏 (Diana)之手。他就是在费城生记的老板,周喆生(Michael Chow)。

On a sunny afternoon in early winter, a humble-looking elderly man warmly welcomed us to take a seat on the second floor of Sang Kee restaurant in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, introducing to us to  the Chinese paintings hanging on the wall that were all created by his wife, Diana. He is the owner of Sang Kee in Philadelphia: Mr. Michael Chow.周喆生

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese
生记的烤鸭出了名的好吃,我们的话题当然是从烤鸭开始。43年前,1980年,周喆生开了费城唐人街上第一家卖烤鸭的店铺,取名“生记”。周先生回忆起当时的店面,最深的印象就是小。“最初开店时是很小很小,只有20个椅子。当时《费城问询者报》 (the Inquirer)写了一篇报道,形容我们的餐馆是“a hole in the wall.”(餐馆就是在墙上的一个洞)他们还写道:我们就不提地址了,因为唐人街的这家店太小了,不想让大家去了找不到地方坐。”
Sang Kee’s roast duck is famously delicious, and our conversation started from there. 43 years ago, in 1980, Mr. Michael Chow opened the first roast duck restaurant in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, naming it “Sang Kee”. Mr. Chow recalls what the restaurant looked like, which today leaves a deep impression due to its size. “At the beginning, it was very small, extremely small, with only 20 chairs. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an article describing our restaurant as ‘a hole in the wall’. They even mentioned, ‘We won’t give the address because this restaurant in Chinatown is too small, and we don’t want people going there and not finding a place to sit.’”
和很多早年移民到美国的华人一样,在周喆生来之前,并不知道自己要干什么。“我在来美国之前,问亲戚朋友,到美国我可以做什么,他们说你有两个工作可以做,第一个是在制衣厂里面做工,第二个选择是你可以到餐馆里面去做工,企台,炒菜,洗碗。工是有的,要看你能做什么。”
Like many early Chinese immigrants to the United States, Michael Chow didn’t know what he would do before coming here. “I asked relatives and friends what I could do here. They said I had two job options: first, working in a garment factory, and second, working in a restaurant doing various tasks like serving tables, cooking, or washing dishes. There were jobs available; it depended on what you could do.”
人在香港的周喆生,决定去学一门手艺。当时香港有很多针对移民的厨师学校,教授各种行当,周喆生报名学习了制作西餐、点心、烤鸭的课程,6个月的时间,他天天白天上班,晚上上课,终于把本领学到手。
At that time, there were many culinary schools in Hong Kong catering to immigrants, teaching various culinary skills. Michael enrolled to learn how to prepare Western cuisine, pastries, and roast duck. For six months, he worked during the day and had classes at night, dedicating himself to mastering these skills.
来美国后,周喆生更是凭借了敏锐的商业洞察力,决定在费城唐人街开一家烤鸭店。“那个时候在费城,如果你想吃烤鸭的话,只有每周六有一辆卡车从纽约下来,把华人喜欢吃的蔬菜,还有烤鸭、烤猪、叉烧,统统拉过来。那时候没有什么华人超市,什么都没有。要吃这些的话,需要从纽约运,非常不方便。”
After he came to the United States, Michael Chow relied on his keen business insight and decided to open a roast duck shop in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. “At that time in Philadelphia, if you wanted to eat roast duck, there was only one option: a truck came down from New York every Saturday, bringing vegetables and beloved Chinese dishes like roast duck, roast pig, and BBQ pork. There weren’t many Chinese supermarkets here. To have these dishes, they had to be transported from New York, which was very inconvenient.”
“我就去做了一个调查,看每周有多少烤鸭和叉烧从纽约送过来,了解基本盘和大致的需求量。既然隔天做的,已经不是很好吃的鸭子都有人吃,那我做得这么好,一定会有市场,如果我们做得好的话,这个销量有可能会翻倍。”说干就干,周先生找到了一个能讲英语的合作伙伴,再找了一个企台,三个人就把“生记”开起来。“我当时算了一下,一天有一百块钱的销量,我就不赔钱,结果第一天,就达到了这个目标。”
“I was trying to find out how many roast duck and BBQ pork were brought in from New York each week, gauging the basic demand. Since even the ducks made a day before were still being consumed, I believed there would definitely be a market. I thought if we did well, the sales could potentially double.”So, Michael found a partner who spoke English, then recruited a waiter, and the three of them started Sang Kee. “I calculated that if we reached $100 in sales in a day, I wouldn’t lose money. Surprisingly, we hit that target on the very first day.”

周喆生2

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese

风风雨雨43年,生记烤鸭几乎成了周喆生生活的全部。他“一周八天”守在烤炉边,看着一只只深红油亮的烤鸭“出锅”是他最大的快乐。喜欢他家烤鸭的食客惊喜地发现,生记不仅在原来店面的旁边开了一个更大的门面,之后还在大学城和费城郊区开设了分店。但是不管怎么变,生记烤鸭的味道始终没有变过,还是那个味道。

Over the past 43 years, Sang Kee’s roast duck has almost become the entirety of Michael Chow’s life. He spends ‘eight days a week’ by the roasting oven, watching as each glossy, deep-red roast duck comes out, which brings him the utmost joy. Guests who love his roast duck are pleasantly surprised to discover that Sang Kee has not only expanded to a larger storefront next to the original location but also opened branches in University City and the suburbs of Philadelphia. However, despite the changes, the taste of Sang Kee’s roast duck has remained consistent. It’s still that same flavor.
“中国有句老话,水涨船高。人气旺,商业才能做得越来越好。”回望生记的43年,周喆生感慨地说,“我刚来的时候,上世纪80年代,唐人街上人很少。我那时是20几岁,差不多和我同龄的人我都认识,大家都会互相打招呼,好像是一个大家庭一样。大家那时候也是互相帮助。后来人口逐渐多起来,中国的留学生也越来越多,唐人街变得越来越大,生记的生意也越做越大,这是一个慢慢累积发展的过程。”
“China has an old saying: ‘Rising tides lift all boats.’ The more popular Chinatown is, the better the business can grow.” Reflecting on 43 years of Sang Kee, Michael Chow remarked, “When I first arrived in the 1980s, Chinatown had very few people. I was in my twenties, and I knew almost everyone around my age. We would greet each other; it felt like one big family. Later on, the population gradually increased, more Chinese students came, and Chinatown grew larger, so does Sang Kee.”周喆生3

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese
作为费城唐人街大家庭的一员,周喆生也希望这块儿“宝地”能越变越好。怎么才能让费城唐人街的人气更旺?周喆生萌生了建造一座“熊猫公园”的想法。“我想利用这块空地,请专业的设计师来设计和建造一个以熊猫为主题的景观公园,让游客们来打卡拍照。从熊猫公园到唐人街的牌楼这一路,还可以设计成熊猫大道,大家沿路就把唐人街给逛了。大家把照片发到社交媒体,他的朋友也会来,对于增加唐人街的人流量,是一个免费广告。”
Michael Chow also hopes to see Chinatown continue to improve. How can Philadelphia’s Chinatown become even more popular? Michael Chow has conceived the idea of building a “Panda Park.”“I want to use this vacant space to invite professional designers to create and build a landscape park centered around pandas. Tourists can come and take photos. From Panda Park to the archway of Chinatown, we could design it as “Panda Avenue”, where people could stroll through Chinatown along this route. When they post their photos on social media, their friends would see, and it becomes free advertising for Chinatown.”

周喆生4

图片来源:海华都市报
Photo Credit to Metro Chinese Weekly
“这个熊猫公园里还会设计两座停车楼,可以有500个车位,这样唐人街停车难的问题也可以有所缓解。”他边说边向我们展示着熊猫公园的设计草图。“现在这还只是一个想法,要征求大家的意见,需要有个共识。现在在华埠商会已经开始谈这个事情,下一步我们也会和华埠发展会沟通,把它变成唐人街的提案,得到资金和政府的支持,才能够做起来。”
“In this Panda Park, we plan to design two parking structures with a capacity for 500 cars. This way, it could alleviate the parking issues in Chinatown.” As he spoke, he showed us the design sketches of the Panda Park. “Right now, it’s just an idea; we need to gather opinions and reach a consensus. Discussions have been started within the Philadelphia Chinatown Business Association, and our next step will involve communicating with the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, to transform it into a proposal for Chinatown.”
说到熊猫公园,周喆生的眼睛里闪着光,兴奋地像一个少年。在费城唐人街闯荡半生的周喆生,希望能为这个属于华人的家园做点儿事、出份力。众人拾柴火焰高,我们也希望,包括“熊猫公园”计划在内,有更多的提案能变成现实,一起把费城唐人街的明天变得更好!
When talking about the Panda Park, Michael Chow’s eyes lit up with excitement. After spending nearly half his life navigating through Philadelphia’s Chinatown, he hopes to contribute something to this home belonging to the Chinese community. Just as the saying goes, “Many hands make light work.” We also hope that more proposals, including the “Panda Park” project, can materialize, working together to make the future of Philadelphia’s Chinatown even better!
 

 

林绍强:漂泊大半生,唐人街是我的家

Kieng Sieu Lim: Having wandered for much of my life, Chinatown is my home.

 

从费城唐人街的牌楼向西走不远,就到了“长寿堂”。虽然店的门面不大,一不留神可能就会错过,但是熟悉这里的人,恐怕寻着那股好闻的中药味儿就能把这家专门经营中药材的店铺找到。长寿堂的主人,今年已经77岁的林绍强(Kieng Sieu Lim)老先生已经等候多时了。

From the gate of Philadelphia’s Chinatown, heading westward, not far away is “Long Life Chinese Herbs.” For those familiar with the area, following the scent of fragrant Chinese herbs would likely lead them to this store specializing in Chinese medicinal ingredients. Mr. Kieng Sieu Lim, the owner of Long Life Chinese Herbs and now 77 years old, has been eagerly awaiting our arrival.林绍强

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese

“我们的店是1997年3月23日开张,到现在26年多了。开张的时候,唐人街有很多中药房了,而我是第一次在唐人街开店,有一些挑战。比如刚开店时,我们不懂到哪里进货,本钱也不多。我自己要去纽约进货,而且买的很贵,因为不知道批发公司在哪里。”

“Our store opened on March 23, 1997. At that time, there were already many Chinese herbs shops in Chinatown. However, it was my first time opening a store here, which came with some challenges. For instance, initially, we didn’t know where to purchase inventory, and we didn’t have much savings. I had to go to New York to buy goods, and they were quite expensive because I didn’t know where the wholesale companies were located.”
1981年,林绍强和太太,两个孩子从柬埔寨逃难到美国。和很多初到美国的人一样,林先生一家生活得非常艰难和辛苦。他先是在餐馆洗碗打杂,后来自己在费城的贫困区开了一家中餐外卖店养家糊口。“那个地方有很多毒贩和流浪汉,非常可怕,我们天天提心吊胆。13年中,我们先后开了四家店 ,但是我觉得人生没有意思,还是想开中药药材店。”
In 1981, Mr. Kieng Sieu Lim and his wife, along with their two children, fled from Cambodia to the United States. Like many newcomers, the Lim family faced tremendous hardship and difficulties. Mr. Lim began by washing dishes and doing odd jobs in restaurants. Later, he started his own Chinese take-out in a rough neighborhood in Philadelphia to make a living. “That area had a lot of drug dealing and homeless people; it was very frightening. We lived in constant fear. Over 13 years, we opened four different stores, but I felt life had no meaning. I still wanted to open a Chinese medicinal herb shop.”
说到中医中药,林绍强打开了话匣子。他在13岁的时候和父母一起从中国辗转去柬埔寨。因为父母经营一家药材店,很多药品都是自己加工,再加上家里都是中医书,林绍强在中药材的香味中长大,耳熏目染,学到了很多中医知识。
When it comes to traditional Chinese medicine and herbs, Kieng Sieu Lim is eager to share. When he was 13 years old, he traveled with his parents from China to Cambodia. His parents ran a medicinal herb shop where many of the medicines were processed in-house. Surrounded by the aroma of Chinese herbs and the traditional Chinese medicine books at home, he grew up immersed in the world of Chinese medicinal herbs, learning a great deal about traditional Chinese medicine.林绍强2

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese
在美国漂泊了十几年后,林绍强老先生决定干回老本行,在费城唐人街开一家中药店。“长寿堂大部分客人都是华人,如果客人有药方,大部分他想找的中药我们都会有;如果客人来看病,我们会用中医的方式给大家“看病”和抓药。现在很多药都是中成药,浓缩成颗粒,方便服用,效果是一样的。”
After wandering in the United States for over a decade, Kieng Sieu Lim decided to return to his roots and opened a traditional Chinese herb medicine store, in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. “Most of Long Life Chinese Herbs’ customers are Chinese. If a customer brings a prescription, we typically have most of the Chinese herbs they’re looking for. If someone comes in for treatment, we use traditional Chinese medicine methods to ‘diagnose’ and then prepare the necessary herbs. Nowadays, many medicines come in the form of concentrated granules, which are convenient to take and have the same efficacy as traditional methods.”
慢慢的,长寿堂的名字让越来越多人知道,慕名前来找林绍强开方抓药的人越来越多。“我很高兴我们的中药房给大家带来了一些方便,第一你不用去医院排队,第二价格也非常便宜,还有就是很多华人去看医生,英文听不懂,也是相当麻烦。当然如果遇到比较复杂的病,草药也是无能为力的,我们就会让他去看西医。这么多年,不管是华人还是黑人、白人,或者看起来像流浪汉的人,我们都会以礼相待。一般年纪大的客人,我们还会给他优惠。”
Gradually, Long Life Chinese Herbs’ reputation spread more and more among Chinese people, attracting individuals who sought Kieng Sieu Lim’s expertise in prescribing and preparing traditional Chinese medicine. “I’m pleased that our traditional Chinese herb medicine shop has provided convenience. Firstly, you don’t have to wait in line at the hospital. Secondly, the prices are very reasonable.”“Additionally, many Chinese individuals struggle with understanding English when they visit a doctor, which can be quite challenging. Of course, for more complicated illnesses, herbs might not be effective, so we recommend seeing the doctor. Over the years, whether they are Chinese, Black, White, or even those who might appear homeless, we treat everyone respectfully. For our elderly customers, we often provide discounts.”

更让林老先生欣慰的是,他得以把中医知识教授给自己的侄儿和二女儿,不仅自己在店里有了帮手,而且也让中医药在海外得到了传承。“我的侄儿大部分时间都在店里工作;我的二女儿英文好,很多‘老外’来店里,都是她给大家解释,讲得很清楚,大家都夸我们的服务好。她很早的时候还在网上开了一家专卖中草药的网店,可能是全美第一家吧。”
Mr. Lim finds particular comfort in being able to impart his knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine to his nephew and second daughter. This not only provides him with assistance in the store but also contributes to the continuation of traditional Chinese medicine overseas.“My nephew works in the store most of the time. My second daughter is fluent in English, and she explains things to many English-speakers who visit the store. She articulates things very clearly, and people praise our service. She even started an online store specializing in Chinese herbal medicine a long time ago.”

林绍强3

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese
“在美国,给你自由发展的机会,只要你愿意奋斗,愿意努力,总会有所收获。”让人钦佩的是,林老先生多年来笔耕不辍,把自己的故事写成书和读者们分享;多年来他还坚持游泳和骑单车,练就了一副好身体。“我现在对我的生活很满意。我打算再过一两年就退休。到时,我的侄儿和二女儿就来接班。我和老伴就可以享受退休生活了。”
“It’s admirable how in America, there are opportunities for personal growth and development. As long as you’re willing to strive and work hard, you’ll reap rewards.” What’s impressive is that Mr. Lim has tirelessly written his story into a book, sharing it with readers. Over the years, he’s also maintained a routine of swimming and biking, ensuring a healthy body. “I’m content with my life now. I plan to retire in another year or two. At that point, my nephew and second daughter will take over. My wife and I can then enjoy our retirement.”林绍强4

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese
从中国到柬埔寨再到美国,历经磨难的林老先生在费城唐人街找到了家的感觉,长寿堂也成为他心灵停泊的港湾。一切都是最好的安排。
From China to Cambodia and then to the United States, Mr. Lim endured hardships before finding a sense of home in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Long Life Chinese Herbs has become a sanctuary for his soul—a place where everything has fallen into the best arrangement possible.
 

 

Kenny Poon: 唐人街只有更多元,才能走得更远

Kenny Poon:  Chinatown can only go further with more diversity.

 

如果你去过费城唐人街上一家经营日本杂货的商店“E佰搜”(Ebisu),你一定会被这家小店中琳琅满目的可爱小物件迷住:从玩具到化妆品,从零食到小百货,这家店让人一秒穿越到东京涉谷。你可能会在店里发现一个忙碌的身影,他在查看货架上商品的同时,不忘热情招呼客人,他就是这家小店的主人Kenny Poon。

If you’ve visited Ebisu, a Japanese goods store in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, you’ll undoubtedly be captivated by the array of charming items: from toys to cosmetics, snacks to miscellaneous goods, this shop feels like a quick trip to Shibuya, Tokyo. You might encounter a busy figure bustling about, checking the shelves while warmly greeting customers—this is Kenny Poon, the owner of this delightful store.

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese
“我是福州人,我很小的时候就去了香港,13岁的时候来到了美国,15岁搬到费城。”在搬到费城之后,Kenny的大部分时间都和费城唐人街有关,除了这家日货小铺,在他的商业版图中还有好几家餐馆和奶茶店,其中大部分生意都在唐人街。20多年前,他的商业之路也在唐人街起步的。
“I’m from Fuzhou, and I moved to Hong Kong when I was very young. I came to the United States when I was 13 and settled in Philadelphia at 15.” After relocating to Philadelphia, most of Kenny’s time has revolved around Chinatown. Apart from this Japanese goods store, his business portfolio includes several restaurants and bubble tea shops, with most of his ventures operating within Chinatown. His entrepreneurial journey began over 20 years ago, starting right here in Chinatown.
时间倒回到2000年,那时手机远不如现在普及。Kenny发现和纽约相比,费城卖的手机要“落后”很多。“费城卖的手机和纽约很不一样,纽约的手机有很多的新款,但是费城都没有。”于是,Kenny抓住了这个商机,在费城唐人街开了一家手机专卖店,也赚到了第一桶金。
Back in 2000, mobile phones were far from being as ubiquitous as they are today. Kenny noticed that compared to New York, Philadelphia had a much more limited selection of phones. “The phones available in Philadelphia were quite different from those in New York City. New York City had a lot of new models of cellphone, but Philadelphia didn’t.” Kenny seized this business opportunity and opened a mobile phone store in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, earning his first bucket of gold.Kenny Poon2

Kenny (左一)和他的生意合伙人在唐人街美食广场
图片来自STEVEN M. FALK
Kenny Poon on the left, with his business partner, at Chinatown Square. Photo credit to STEVEN M. FALK

“因为那时候GSM网络的手机刚刚出来,当时能买到这种手机的,唐人街只有我这一家店。我们还从欧洲进口最新款的手机,比如说第一款诺基亚手机,在我的店里就可以买到,当时很多人都没有见过。所以我其实觉得自己很幸运,因为我起步比较早,赶上了好时候。有时候你很想做一件事,不一定能做成,因为时机也非常重要。”

“Back then, GSM network phones had just come out, and my shop was the only one in Chinatown selling these kinds of phones. We even imported the latest phones from Europe. For example, the first Nokia phone was available in my store, and many people hadn’t seen it before. So, I feel fortunate because I started early and caught a good opportunity. Sometimes, you may want to do something, but timing is also crucial in making it happen.”
2004年,手机的生意没有那么好,Kenny决定投身房地产业,成为一名房产经纪。“当时我是挣了一些钱,但是我觉得没有什么意思,直到我开了第一家餐馆,我才找到了又赚钱、自己又喜欢的工作。”
In 2004, when the mobile phone business wasn’t doing so well, Kenny decided to venture into real estate and became a real estate agent. “At that time, I had earned some money, but I didn’t find much meaning in it until I opened my first restaurant. That’s when I found something that not only made money but was something I enjoyed doing as well.”
2008年,Kenny如愿以偿地开了第一家餐馆BonChon。“那是一家亚洲风味的餐馆,餐馆里有中餐、日餐、有一些韩餐,还可以吃到一些菲律宾菜。其实,我一直想开一家自己的餐馆,餐馆里做的菜都是我觉得好吃的东西,就是这么简单”。2012年,Kenny还开了费城唐人街的第一家奶茶店Tea Do(茶道)。
In 2008, Kenny fulfilled his dream and opened his first restaurant, BonChon. “It was an Asian fusion restaurant, serving Chinese, Japanese, some Korean, and even some Filipino dishes. Actually, I always wanted to have my own restaurant. The dishes served there are simply what I find delicious. In 2012, Kenny also opened the first bubble tea shop in Philadelphia’s Chinatown called Tea-Do.Kenny Poon3

图片来源:海华都市报
Photographed by Metro Chinese
和很多华人商家大部分客户都是华人不同,Kenny家的店不仅仅是为华裔或者是亚裔而开,始终是面向所有人群,餐馆如此,奶茶店如此,日本杂货店就更是这样。“在做市场的时候,我都会考虑到这些。因为我始终认为,华人做生意,不能只把眼光盯在华人身上,因为毕竟市场是有限的,唐人街的发展也是这样,要多元化,要面向所有人。”
Kenny’s shops differ from many other Chinese businesses in that they’re not exclusively targeting Chinese or Asian customers. They’re always open to everyone. “When I do market analysis, I consider all these aspects. Because I firmly believe that Chinese businesses shouldn’t only focus on the Chinese community, as this will limit their potential market. The development of Chinatown should embrace diversity and cater to everyone.”
Kenny认为“学会做老外生意”,对于应对“76人队在唐人街边建新球场”这个问题,同样大有好处。“如果76人队真的在这里建了新球场,一些大的美国公司会跟着人流过来抢占市场。那时如果唐人街的华人小企业不知道怎么做“老外”的生意,现有的小企业将会受到很大的影响,甚至会慢慢地消失。我觉得大家应该早做准备,不要等这一切发生了才开始行动。”
Kenny believes that learning to do business with non-Chinese customers is beneficial, especially in dealing with the issue of the 76ers building a new arena near Chinatown. “If the 76ers indeed build a new arena here, some major American companies will follow the crowd to grab market share. If Chinatown’s small Chinese businesses don’t know how to do business with ‘outsiders,’ existing small businesses will be significantly affected, possibly even disappearing slowly. I think everyone should be prepared early and not wait for all of this to happen before taking action.”
在唐人街打拼的这些年,怎样做“老外”的生意一直是Kenny思考的问题。比如说,他认为费城每年搞的“餐厅周活动”就是一个值得借鉴的好点子。“在餐馆周里,各种不同风味的餐馆们联合起来,在一段时间内推出一些优惠和套餐,能吸引很多人气。我们也可以搞一个“唐人街餐馆周”,推出一些鸡尾酒+开胃菜+主菜的优惠套餐。我想说的是,有的时候大家一起做一件事也很重要。”
In the years of working hard in Chinatown, figuring out how to conduct business for “locals” has always been Kenny’s concern. For instance, he sees Philadelphia’s annual “Restaurant Week” as a great idea worth emulating. “During this event, restaurants of various cuisines unite to offer discounts and meal packages, attracting a lot of attention. I think a similar event could be organized in Chinatown, perhaps offering discounted packages comprising cocktails, appetizers, and main courses.” His point is that sometimes it’s important for everyone to do something together.
在华人商圈取得了一定知名度的Kenny还有一个大大的梦想,就是开一家华人商学院,在教授中文的同时,也教给年轻人怎样创业,自己当老板。“我没有读过大学,没有学过商科,这一点让我挺遗憾的,但是多年从商的经历,让我学到了很多的东西。我认识一些年轻人,他们只想给别人打工,但是如果他们能学到相关的知识,就可以在年轻的时候开始尝试创业,万一失败了,还有机会重新开始。我想帮助年轻人,创办更多的华人小企业,和我一样,勇敢地去追求梦想”。
Kenny, who has gained some reputation in the Chinese business owners’ community, harbors a significant dream: to establish a Chinese Business School that not only teaches Chinese but also imparts entrepreneurship skills to young individuals, enabling them to become their own bosses.“I never attended college or studied business, and that’s something I regret, but my years in business have taught me a lot. I know some young people who only seek employment, but if they acquire the right knowledge, they can venture into entrepreneurship at a young age. Even if they fail, they have a chance to start again. I want to assist young individuals in establishing more Chinese-owned businesses, encouraging them to bravely pursue their dreams, just like I did.”

根据2021年的统计数据,费城98%的企业是小企业(定义为员工少于50人的公司),54%的工作岗位由小企业创造。可以说,两万多家小企业是这座城市的中流砥柱。而据2022年美国人口普查,费城11%的小企业由亚裔拥有(其中很大一部分是华裔),这些小企业已经成为拉动费城经济发展的重要引擎之一。

According to 2021 statistics, 98% of businesses in Philadelphia are small enterprises (defined as having fewer than 50 employees), generating 54% of the city’s job opportunities. With over 20,000 small businesses, they form a vital backbone of the city. As per the 2022 U.S. Census, 11% of these small businesses in Philadelphia are owned by Asians (with a significant portion being of Chinese descent), serving as crucial engines propelling the city’s economic growth.
在本次系列采访中,我们看到了华人企业家们创业打拼的甜酸苦辣,了解到他们和唐人街同生存共发展的纽带关系,和大家分享了他们对唐人街未来发展的想法和建议。从他们的故事中,我们看到是更大的华人商业版图。我们更期待扎根在唐人街的华人商家们能携手共进,打拼出一个更加美好的未来!
In these interviews, we witnessed the ups and downs experienced by Chinese entrepreneurs, their intertwined existence and growth with Chinatown, and their thoughts and suggestions for the future development of this neighborhood. Through their stories, we see a larger landscape of Chinese business. We eagerly anticipate the collaboration and collective effort of the rooted Chinese businesses in Chinatown to forge a brighter and better future together!

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