We had the good fortune of connecting with Avina Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Avina, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
My success behind Sumo Snow started as a dream. A dream of creating a fun and unique boba store for our community. My husband and I wanted to open a Taiwanese shave snow store and wanted to use Snow in the name indicating cold and refreshing desserts/drinks. We wanted a store name that would stand out from other Asian dessert/boba stores and we wanted to create our drinks in a one of a kind “fat” cups. I was a chubby baby and my mother always called me baby sumo, so we decided to name our store Sumo Snow after combining my childhood nickname and Snow. I like to draw, and as a joke, I drew a baby sumo holding two sumo snow boba cups. Everyone said how cute my drawing was, so we made my baby sumo our logo. To us, Sumo Snow plays on the idea that we serve unique, cold and refreshing drinks in sumo sized boba cups.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our mission at Sumo Snow is to provide premium handcrafted boba teas, shaved snow and Asian desserts to our customers. By importing all our teas from Japan and Taiwan, we can create unique flavors that will enhance your tea drinking experience. Our Taiwanese shaved snow is created with fresh ingredients, which creates a light and fluffy textured ice cream. It is slightly sweetened with fresh fruit and melts in your mouth like cotton candy. We also support local AZ farmers by purchasing all our produce locally, which allows Sumo Snow to receive deliveries of fresh fruits daily. Our dessert menu will feature unique Asian sweets that will change with the season. Overall, we constantly strive to raise the bar in creating extraordinary food experiences for our customers.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
We have family and friends who visit us from all over the world. We have cousins in Australia and Vietnam and friends from Singapore and Europe. We always take them to Sedona’s slide rock state park or to tour the Antelope Canyons in Page, AZ. We also live close to Lake Pleasant and some of our older family members enjoy the riverboat tour at Lake Pleasant. For our younger friends, we take them on segway tours of downtown Scottsdale. Our favorite restaurant to take out of town guests is Gen Korean BBQ in Tempe, Pho VN and of course all of our guests visits our Sumo Snow store.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My father was a commander in the Southern Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War. He was captured by the communist party and placed in a war concentration camp for three years. After being released, he married his child hood sweetheart and they had me in 1983. My father disliked the communist party and didn’t want his family to live in fear every day of our lives. Therefore, he devised a plan for us to escape Vietnam in a fishing boat. During our escape, we were met with Thai pirates, who tried to capture our boat. Fortunately, our crew members, along with my father, fought off the pirates. After two weeks at sea, our boat was rescued by a Malaysian fishing boat. My family was placed in a refugee camp in the Philippine for a year and, then, in 1987, we were sponsored to the U.S. through a Baptist church in Des Moines, IA. In 1990, my family moved to AZ and my parents opened one of the first Vietnamese restaurants in Phoenix. I learned how to operate and build my business through seeing how hard my parents worked at their restaurant. Without my father’s perseverance and strive for a better life for his family, I would not have had the opportunity to follow my dreams and life goals. I owe all my success to my parents.