KMA 504 and 509 Richmond, Virginia : Stacy Gao

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Chef: Stacy Gao
Store: KMA 504 and 509
City: Richmond, Virginia
Average Weekly Sales: $6,400 per store

You know things don’t always turn out the way you pray. When I lived in China, I was studying to be a teacher. But after moving to America, I met my husband in New York where he was a talented Manhattan sushi chef. In our hearts we had the same aspiration: to own a business. When we moved to Virginia, it couldn’t have been a worse time, with the economic downturn, to start a restaurant. Sure, we could support our two kids—Tiger easily found work as a chef, and I waitressed in the same Japanese restaurant part time while attending nursing school in case we had to alter our dream—but we didn’t give up. One of our kids’ friends’ parents were operating a Snowfox sushi bar. We’d found our opportunity.

I have to confide that learning to roll sushi was pretty easy for me because when I worked in the restaurant I was really curious about everything. So I watched everything I could, and I asked a lot of questions. I actually finished my nursing training, but now I’m so proud of learning this business that I even tell my former classmates about it. Training our employees well gave us the confidence to open a second store. After four years of this I can even offer a few tips to new franchisees. Above all, get to know your customers, and be flexible with changing your menu. Today our boy and girl are in high school, the sushi bars are doing great, and I’m so thankful for what we created. It’s true you never know what awaits you in life, but once you find an opportunity, be passionate about what you’re doing!