VOYAGE LA INTERVIEW
Today we’d like to introduce you to Tansu Philip and David Friedman.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Tansu, David. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there. I’ve always dreamed of opening a coffee shop, but neither of us had the experience or connections to do so. Tansu and I loved going on dates to boba spots. Instead of being that same ol’ community coffee shop, we decided we could bring the same concept with boba. It was a struggle, and many late night discussions (Arguments?) later, we were committed to making this happen. Tansu and I are basically married so opening a business together was a natural progression. Tansu has been such a creative force when it comes to marketing and I won’t stop working on something until it gets done. We make a great team.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way? It has not been smooth. We were delayed 3 months due to the health department not liking one small floor plan change we did.
Since our boba concept is a cross between traditional Taiwanese and Mexican flavors, we had to figure out from scratch how to make these recipes that are not typical in the boba world.
We’ve had to educate the community on boba, quality tea and coffee. We are one of the most eastern cities in the Inland Empire and so the boba craze isn’t as strong here as SGV or Korea Town. Once a month we do a free tea and coffee cupping to show our community the different qualities of our product.
Please tell us about Viva La Boba. Our goals are bigger than just selling Boba. We started a boba shop in one of the most dangerous country in the world. The downtown area is desolate. I believe we are one of the first new businesses to open in Downtown in the past 8 years. We want to change the perception of the area and show that you can take a risk that pays off. We want to inspire the entrepreneurs in the area to try and do what we did.
We are about using real ingredients. No powders.
We are about sustainability and protecting the environment. We’ve hosted earth days and personally protested against warehouses being built in our community.
Viva La Boba is a place where you can have a life-changing conversation with a friend or stranger. It’s a place where you can go on a nice date. We’ve seen so many awkward first dates happen at Viva La Boba. It’s a place where young or old, we have a drink for you.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently? Nothing! I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I did had things not panned out as they did.
I agree with Tansu! The journey, even with its twists and stumbles, has been an enjoyable experience.
Address: 455 W 4th St. San Bernardino, CA Open Mon-Sun 10 AM – 10 PM