Aaron Chan’s grandfather founded the Mon Hei Bakery to bring Chinese pastries to the burgeoning International District of Seattle with funding from investors. While the concept itself isn’t new in this modern food startup world, the significance is the timing: the year was 1979. Fast forward over thirty years, and the Mon Hei Bakery was a provider of affordable and old world Chinese dumplings, hom bao, egg tarts, and mooncakes. Regulars flocked there to buy fresh snacks, and the Chan family had established themselves as active members of the community. Tragically, on Christmas Eve 2013, the building in which Mon Hei was based burned down, taking with it the legendary bakery.
Aaron joined the PeasOnMoss podcast to share his family’s story about food entrepreneurship and surviving after a business tragedy. Though his parents didn’t want him to go into the bakery business, he felt the call rise up in his heart after the fire and observing how his parents have struggled to understand how they can still participate in their community without a bakery. It’s ultimately a story of hope, and it’s a unique perspective of food business operations from a family business.