Thi Thu Thuy Luong said it’s been a life-long dream to open her own business.
Her husband, Tuan Anh Tran, said he was willing to follow his wife around the world to make it happen.
The Vietnamese couple will open Pho Queen at 117 Queen St. in Charlottetown on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 9 a.m.
“In Vietnam, I wanted to open a coffee (shop), but I had to work and I didn’t have a lot of time,’’ Luong said.
“I had a government office job, but (I’ve always) wanted to open a small coffee place but I hadn’t enough time.’’
She worked from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at her job and had a husband and three children to look after.
Luong and Tran wanted a good life for their family so they decided to move to Canada two years ago to consider their options. Then they found out about P.E.I.’s provincial nominee program (PNP), which underwent some changes in September 2018, and decided to check it out. They liked the East Coast and the slower way of life.
Luong said knew they were taking a chance. She knew leaving a secure full-time job was going to present a challenge.
“Then, we landed here (on P.E.I.) about four months ago,’’ Tran said. “We liked Canada ... but we really liked it here.’’
“Here my children have a good education and they have a good environment, and when we came here we feel that the weather is not as bad as we thought. The environment (on the East Coast) is very good. And, I like the quiet (way of life on P.E.I.), so I feel this is very suitable for me. We’re looking for a better way of life.’’
- Thi Thu Thuy Luong
They have three children — a 23-year-old who is taking a masters program at UNB, an 18-year-old studying at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., and a 14-year-old who is a student at Queen Charlotte Intermediate School in Charlottetown.
“Here, my children have a good education and they have a good environment and when we came here we feel that the weather is not as bad as we thought,’’ Luong said, laughing at the weather reference.
“The environment (on the East Coast) is very good. And, I like the quiet (way of life on P.E.I.), so I feel this is very suitable for me. We’re looking for a better way of life.’’
Luong said she realizes not all immigrants who have set up businesses on P.E.I. the last few years have stuck around. She stops short of promising that they’ll be different, only saying they hope the business is well received and that they can make a life for themselves in Charlottetown long-term.
Tran said his wife put a lot of work in learning how to cook authentic Vietnamese cuisine to give the business the best chance possible. Luong said she takes special pride in her strong black Vietnamese coffee, which will be offered to customers.
“I like coffee from Tim’s (Hortons) and other coffee shops, but it’s not strong enough for me,’’ she laughs.
“We chose a Vietnamese restaurant because the Vietnamese have many kinds of foods and I think I can cook the Vietnamese foods.’’