Ronald, 27 originally from New York City and Jessica, 26 from West Hartford

tumblr_nyi6jdalq11us06alo1_1280

Ronald, 27 originally from New York City and Jessica, 26 from West Hartford met in high school and continued their relationship together at the University of Connecticut. After college, they relocated to Boston as a corporate sales manager and cytogenetic technologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital respectively, but soon left the comfort of their jobs to create their own business. The two sat down with Khmerican, to share more about the early beginnings of The H.A. Cafe​ in this latest Humans of Khmer America feature.

KHMERICAN: What was your biggest fear in opening The H.A. Cafe?

RON: Thinking back, I’m not sure if I had any major fears. I dove into the project rather recklessly tackling challenges as they popped up. If anything, it was probably the disapproval of my family. They’ve always looked down on restaurant owners as under-educated so as a son quitting a secure corporate job to open a cafe, it was tough with the extra family pressure hanging above my head.

KHMERICAN: What one advice would you give young entrepreneurs who has dreams of opening their own cafe?

RON: Be prepared to sacrifice life as you know it. Never did we imagine how much work we were getting ourselves into and how high maintenance the lifestyle is. It becomes much more than just cooking and sharing food. You’re putting your passion out there for people to criticize, complain about, experience, and hopefully enjoy. Believe in your craft and push on.

KHMERICAN: What was your biggest fear in opening The H.A. Cafe?

JESSICA: When you’re in the planning process you have so much going on and nearly everything is hypothetical. I wouldn’t call them fears, but my concerns were about our identity–culture, food, type of service–as a cafe and whether the area was ready and understanding to receive us.

KHMERICAN: What one advice would you give young entrepreneurs who has dreams of opening their own cafe?

JESSICA: I think this advice applies to all entrepreneurs. I want to say that with the advancements in technology, the wide availability in access to information/communication, and the drive of our generation almost anything is possible. Though it does become a double edge sword in terms of saturation. The best thing you can do is differentiate yourself. Create, innovate, and don’t forget to do your research.

Photo by Phatry Derek Pan​

Click to comment
0 comments

Most Popular

To Top