HONOLULU (KHON2) — Maggie Zhang could not be happier. She is the first to greet her customers when they walk through her door, whether she knows them or not.
Maggie started her business, Shaka Shaka Tea, in 2013 after being a stay-at-home mom for most of her life.
She did it in large part because her children were headed off to college and they loved bubble tea. There is nothing artificial here.
“All fresh, all handmade and homemade,” Maggie said. “I use Shaka Shaka because everybody knows family members work together and we treat our customers like family members too.”
Zhang now owns four Shaka Shaka Tea stores on Oahu and recently expanded by opening up Shaka Shaka Farms at her City Square location in July. It is a snackers paradise; with most of her goodies being from hard-to-get products from Asia. Stocking the shelves full of her family favorites was not the only reason she expanded, however.
“It was from my idea that I wanted to extend for the shop because of COVID,” Maggie said. “We have more space and more air for the customer because sometimes we are super busy.”
Like most companies, packed stores were not the case early on in the pandemic at Shaka Shaka tea.
“Yeah, honestly very difficult for me,” Maggie said. “Last year March started COVID, super difficult to us but I’m happy we still have business. You know, we still can work.
Business is back and so are her children. Her daughter, Ellen Zhang, is just visiting and her son is possibly staying to help run the family business.
“I was actually her first employee,” said Ellen, “I stood here in the hot, there was no AC at the time, I literally stood here with me and my friends handing out samples, like, in the middle of the road, like, as like my part-time job after school and I was like, ‘This is, really, like no one’s coming in.'”
“And now she has four stores and I am immensely proud of her,” Ellen continued. “She really put her heart and soul into it, every morning she’ll call me, she’s like doing inventory, she’s the one driving the big cars around, and like, she honestly puts everything into the stores so I think that’s what makes the biggest difference here.
“I want to be a happy person and I want to take care of everybody,” Maggie said. “That is my secret, it’s hard work but it’s happy.”