Nurturing business and talent: business affairs

Honolulu (KHON2) — Tony Wong Cam and his family immigrated to the island from Peru, despite the look of an island boy. But since he was alone at the time, he considered himself a local boy.

“My parents grew up farming,” says Tony Wong Cam, owner of Yifang Fruit Tea in Hawaii. “My parents had a farm in Waianae for most of our growing up and I went to school in Hanalani, Millilani.”

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Like most of his family members, Tony works on the farm. But, as an entrepreneur, it’s always in his blood. Although he said the mainland was calling him after he graduated from the University of Hawaii, he decided to stay and pursue a master’s degree at the University of Hawaii’s Hidler School of Business.

“It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. It gave me the skills, resources and guidance to succeed and what I’m doing today,” Cam said.

Mentoring and entrepreneurship are two things Tony and his family know very well. Their skills are aided in part by their relationship with Eddie Flores at L&L Restaurant.

“Eddie Flores was my uncle. He and his partners welcomed us and brought us to help with the early expansion of L&L. After that, my parents transitioned into farming and growing up in ways that I never imagined I’ve owned L&L but the opportunity arose and in 2018 I got a call and after about a week of managing one of the stores, I decided to buy Waimanalo L&L. This is where the entrepreneurial journey really begins with franchising and the food business The place.”

Today, Tony, 29, owns not only the L&L restaurant in Waimanalo, but now two boba tea shops, including a brand new one at Fort Street Mall, which just celebrated its opening last week. A certain level of success is actually due in part to the pandemic, he said.

“Covid has brought a lot of these business opportunities. I have time, so I have a plan for how to bring the successful boba tea to Hawaii,” Cam said.

Now with three businesses to run, he says he is finding his passion, from trainee to mentor.

Cam explains: “I have one of the youngest kitchen staff at L&L, so seeing them learn and develop something, I’m very proud to see a young kid, and I think the next step is the boba shop, because I can teach these young people soft skills that kids don’t usually learn these days.”

He continued, “During the pandemic, many of these kids don’t have the soft skills they had before. So part of serving up good tea is extremely high-quality people who will make a difference in Hawaii someday.”

That said, he’s succeeding when everyone else is struggling to recruit employees. Because he doesn’t hire people to work. He’s hiring people who want to learn and follow in his footsteps.

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“I guess that’s been my view all along. We want to hire the right people and give them a value proposition, not just work here We want to build skills We want to help you network We want to help you achieve your goals Whether it’s in Our company we want to give kids and opportunities to be better every day, I will make mistakes that they are afraid to make. Young people these days are very afraid of making mistakes when they are growing up. I made a lot of mistakes growing up and I made them A lot of mistakes people ask what’s the secret to success. It’s learning from those mistakes and making a list of being able to make those mistakes and embrace them,” Cam concludes.

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