Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Joel Gutierrez, owner of Tea Town, located in Plano, TX, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a one-of-a-kind Filipino cafe in the DFW area where we serve traditional bubble tea along with Filipino street food specialties. We initially opened as a traditional bubble tea shop until the pandemic hit when we needed to think fast and change our business model. The pandemic restricted travel, and we found an opportunity to bring Filipino snacks to the Plano area, especially the ones Filipinos love to get when they visit the Philippines. In doing so, we felt like it boosted the morale from the pandemic shut down and that even though travel was restricted at the time, the Filipino community was able to taste the snacks they missed back home.

Tell us about yourself

I'm a businessman by heart. I used to be in the construction business until I wanted a change of pace and to try something new. First and foremost, my family motivates me to keep going each day. The smiling faces of the customers keep me going as well, especially when they feel reminiscent of the food back in our home country. It's also motivating and rewarding to see how non-Filipinos are excited to try our products and contribute to the awareness of Filipino food and culture. I want Filipino food to be as mainstream as Chinese food here in the US.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is being able to continually adapt to the ever-so-changing and challenging economy we have now.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Being a small business owner is pretty difficult as I end up doing it all. We do have employees, but at the end of the day, each aspect of the business falls on me, including day-to-day operations and accounting, among other things.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't give up. It will be hard at first, but it will be worth it.
  2. Research the business and the market as much as you can.
  3. You need people who will support you. You can't succeed on your own.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Thank you for this opportunity! In the picture I shared, there you can see our ube and pandan cheese pandesal (breakfast rolls), puto ube with cheese (steamed rice cakes), mamon (chiffon cake), and bibingka (baked rice cake).

We continually add Filipino items to our menu, and we most often listen to our customers about what they like to see us make!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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