WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. (FOX 9) - White Bear Lake has a new business that brings together both American and Asian influences in its drinks. But the real story is the shop’s immigrant owner, who embodies the American dream.
Shaken and stirred, the brightly-colored beverages at Hello Boba combine textures both creamy and chewy in bubble teas that are milky and fruity.
"[Bubble tea is] originated from Taiwan, but it's become so popular in Asia," said Vy Dam, owner of Hello Boba in White Bear Lake.
Dam has become something of an expert, trying different bubble teas in each new city she visits.
Her new business is named in honor of the drinks, which have tapioca balls at the bottom called pearls, or boba.
"Everybody knows me know how much I love bubble tea. I named my dog Boba," she said.
But when Dam immigrated from Vietnam 10 years ago, opening her own shop wasn't something she ever thought she'd accomplish.
"Never, never, never. This is still so unreal," she said.
White Bear Lake has a new business that brings together both American and Asian influences in its drinks. But the real story is the shop’s immigrant owner, who embodies the American dream.
It took her two years to learn English, and then she earned her degree from University of Minnesota and went the corporate route, but she quickly decided it wasn't for her.
"I want to work toward my mission without anybody to interfere with that. And the only choice is to open my own business," she said.
The grand opening for Hello Boba is this weekend. And if opening a bubble tea shop is not enough, Dam also manages her mom's nail salon next door, and is a real estate agent.
"If I love what I do, I don't feel like I'm working," she said. "I love the nail salon. I love my clients that I'm selling and buying houses for. I love the bubble tea. So I think I don't ever feel that I'm working. I guess I have to change some like sleep time, but that's fine," she joked.
In between sleep cycles, Dam also finds time to try and mentor her staff. Some of them are still in high school.
"I had a lot of help and support when I come here to the United States. I want to give back," Dam said.
And part of giving back also means introducing bubble tea to people who've never tried it.
An example of a Boba tea drink at Hello Boba in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
"In this neighborhood, we don't have anything like this yet," she said. "You never know until you try it. Just like me. I'd never know if I can open this until I try it."
She hopes other people can also recognize that taking a gamble on yourself can be the best reward.
"I dream about it. I think about it. I kept thinking about, ‘why don't I just do it?’ That's what I told myself. So I did it," she said.