Thursday, March 03, 2005

Handmade tea bags to uniforms

Another small retailer success story from the New York Times -- Fortune Restaurant Uniform and Supplies.
Maggie Lin W. Leung, a native of Hong Kong, is a slim, dark-haired woman of 48. She got into the business by canny calculation. While selling handmade tea bags in her father-in-law's kitchenware shop in Chinatown she noticed how many restaurant owners were asking if the shop sold chef's aprons and white shirts for kitchen workers.

"They didn't have in the store," she said. "So, I think, I should make it !"

Her store, Fortune Restaurant Uniform and Supplies Inc., on Eighth Avenue at 52d Street, is a shining example of immigrant resourcefulness, the kind that spots an unfilled niche created by the influx of fellow newcomers and makes profitable hay. Most such businesses take care of the necessities - food, clothing, furniture, videos - with an ethnic twist; others carve out whole new specialties.

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