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Accounting and Business Consulting Program celebrates milestone, helps businesses like Hyson Boba in Cherry Hill achieve goals

Paul Nguyen grew up drinking boba. We’re talking about the real, authentic boba that originated in Taiwan. The co-owner of Hyson Boba, originally from Vietnam, moved to Seattle last year. He sampled boba shops around the city and quickly noticed a trend.

Paul Nguyen and Derrick Chi, co-owners of Hyson Boba, stand with drinks in front of café sign.

“A lot of boba tea here is not organic. There’s a lot of chemicals and a lot of preservatives,” said Nguyen.

He had talked about starting a boba tea café with his sister June Nguyen and their friend Derrick Chi for a while.

“The reason we decided to open a shop here is because we can actually stand out since it’s going to be organic and home-made boba,” Nguyen explained.

Going from an idea to a fully operational café is no easy feat. Prior to Hyson Boba, he’d never owned a business. As he was learning the ropes, his realtor put in him touch with our office and the Accounting and Business Consulting Program. Nguyen and his partners managed to open Hyson Boba in less than a year. Chi had experience making boba at home. He and June focused on the menu and day-to-day logistics while Nguyen handles the business operations.

 The ABC Program provides up to 10 hours of free one-on-one counseling to Seattle-based businesses. We launched this program in 2022. In two years, it grew from four consultants to 11. Services are available in multiple languages and range from bookkeeping and accounting guidance to marketing plan assistance. In the first five months of 2024, our consultants have already provided more than 1,000 hours of consulting.

“This milestone means we’re championing small business owners to establish or expand their operations with professional support they normally wouldn’t have the financial capacity for,” said Robyn Duckett, community development specialist at the Seattle Office of Economic Development.

Through the ABC Program, Nguyen and his partners worked with multiple consultants. One helped with developing a marketing plan. Another helped Nguyen write the whole business plan. Nugyen says the consultants were instrumental in opening Hyson Boba and Tea.

“There were a lot of things I didn’t know as a new business. I learned a lot and [this program] helped me grow as a businessperson,” said Nguyen. “The program helped us out a lot. Without it, I don’t think this would happen.”

Hyson Boba opened its doors in early May. Nguyen says he and his partners are settling into the day-to-day of running the café. They love getting feedback from customers to make sure their boba is the best. The three have hopes of opening more cafes in the future, but for now, they’re focused on sharing organic boba with the community.

“It’s a good feeling when a customer comes in and they notice,” said Nguyen. “It’s very touching because that’s what we want to do, expose people to the real, authentic boba.”

The ABC Program is available to Seattle-based businesses at any stage to start, stabilize, and grow their business. The program supports small businesses in achieving operation sustainability, increasing revenue through marketing strategies, and improving the financial management of their business. Learn more about consulting services offered here.

The Office of Economic Development’s purpose is to shape the Future of Seattle Economy and make it more equitable, prosperous, and competitive. We do this work by leading projects and making investments that open up access to economic opportunities, reduce the racial wealth gap, and encourage innovation and growth. A pillar of FSE is Supporting small, women-, and minority-owned businesses, designed to increase and grow small, women, and minority owned businesses through a combination of resource navigation services, business support services, and policy changes.  These businesses not only drive our economy but are a key element of what makes our neighborhoods unique.