Thank You from us on Small Business Saturday + Special Weekend Promotion

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“Hi Auntie Hoon.”

“Morning, morning, young lady and young man, come out of the sun.”

Reese & I both duck under the plastic tarp that formed a makeshift vegetable stall along bustling Chowrasta Road in Penang, Malaysia. “I just need some coriander leaves today,” Reese says.

“No problem, no problem.” Auntie Hoon picks out the greenest bunch and spins a rubber band around them, while carefully explaining how to keep them fresh.

Reese jumps in, “Oh, I made the Chinese watercress dish you told me about last week. Thank you for the recipe!”

Auntie Hoon smiles and puts the coriander in a plastic bag. 

I take my wallet out, and Auntie Hoon immediately shakes her head. “Just take, no problem, young man.” 

"Are you sure?”

“It’s small, no problem. No problem.”

November 30th is Small Business Saturday.  Our first Small Business Saturday since moving from Malaysia to Minnesota last year, and launching our Asian Spice Shop in April 2013.

Like Auntie Hoon and her husband running their vegetable stand at an outdoor morning market in Malaysia, it’s just the two of us running every aspect of our small business here in Minnesota.  From website design to photographing, from recipe development to writing blog articles, from sourcing spices to blending, from packing spices in all those glass jars to labeling them, from bookkeeping to tax filings, from marketing to inventory tracking, from answering customer’s emails and phone calls, to everything else that keeps us busy from morning to night every day of the week.

The fears and uncertainties of running a small business can overwhelm us, but just one nice message from a customer can carry us past any doubts, and put a smile on our face reminiscent of the one Auntie Hoon would greet us with every morning at the market.

Mark and Reese of

Why support small businesses? 

Auntie Hoon knew what vegetables we liked and what dishes we cooked.  She knew where all her vegetables were cultivated, how to keep them fresh, and how to cook with them.  She would share her knowledge, pick out the best veggies, and even throw in some freebies for us to try. 

We miss her and her small business every time we walk down the produce aisle at the grocery store. A story I would share last year, while part of a small team training UNESCO World Heritage guides in Penang, on why small businesses enrich the culture of the city. 

On this Small Business Saturday, we want to thank Auntie Hoon for enriching our lives with not only the freshest veggies every morning and all the traditional recipes she shared, but also for giving us the best example of how to run a small business and how to treat your customers. 

But she would never accept a thank you.  And I know now that was the final example she set for us. No matter how hard we or anyone else tried to thank her, she always made sure to let her customers know that she was the thankful one. 

So on this Small Business Saturday, we want to thank you, our customers, for your support during our first year.  Thank you for your purchases, your feedback and ideas, your kind messages of support, and your positive reviews.  Our small business wouldn’t be here without you.