Before beginning her career as a business entrepreneur at iCAFE San Francisco, Diana Wong was surrounded by the hustle and bustle of her Father’s traditional Chinese sausage and cured meats retail shop while growing up. “Seeing my father easily connecting with his customers, in addition to patiently introducing this traditional delicatessen to curious tourists always intrigued me,” remembers Diana. Her father spoke fluent English and Chinese, threading together a sense of culture and community in his proud 400 square foot establishment. It is through his style and sense of relating to others, loyal patrons often stopped by to socialize and to celebrate cultural values. The business was also viewed by many as a “secondary family and home.”
With her parents’ values instilled in her as a very young child, Diana has grown to model a similar successful business style when creating iCAFE San Francisco, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown. She wanted to create a “warm, caring, sense of coming home,” continuing to cater to loyal patrons, in addition to attracting new customers. The vibe she wanted to present to the community is that iCAFE San Francisco is a place where one can chill, relax, and feel at home after a long, adventurous play day in San Francisco’s famous Chinatown.
Diana found that success is very hard work. It requires extra help, methodical planning, and money to support the following day’s business. As the success of the café grew, more equipment was needed, which involved revising iCAFE San Francisco’s financial planning. Part of their loan from Main Street Launch was to purchase a new ice machine, ovens for their fresh, baked goods, and various supplies to grow their fast paced café. Currently, the café has 4 part-time employees and has also opened its 2nd location: iCAFE Chinatown. Diana says, “Owning a business is a commitment; one’s sole dedication that supersedes everything, especially in the initial planning and operating stages.”
“The investment with Main Street Launch was the best decision I have made regarding the fate of my business. The staff at Main Street Launch are friendly and supportive. The loan checklist and reminders really helped to complete the process. We have a personal relationship with Main Street – it’s no longer just a business relationship,” says Diana.
If you haven’t had the chance yet, please stop by iCAFE San Francisco. We are sure you will enjoy their specialty drinks and sweets during your pit stop! iCAFE San Francisco is closed on Tuesdays and open 6 days a week from 8:30am-5:30pm. They look forward to seeing you soon!
Pictured: co-owner Nobo at iCAFE San Francisco