When Jessie Wong sees a package brimming with colourfully packaged candies and snacks all tied up with a bow, she finds happiness inside.
“It’s like a decoration – and you can eat it!” she exclaims.
Wong and her husband, Mike Chiu, aim to bring this happiness to customers at Snack GOGO in the Confederation Court Mall. The shop sells a variety of candies, snacks and other treats with a focus on offering customers imported Asian snacks not easily found on P.E.I.
“Every time they come in, they will find something different,” Wong says, chatting in the bright and open Snack GOGO store.
Seeking a relaxed pace of life and a different style of education for their daughter,
Wong and Chiu came to P.E.I. from Hong Kong in summer 2017.
“Hong Kong is a totally different style of living,” Chiu explains. “It’s very crowded. Also, people are living in a very fast pace of life. We want to have a change in our life.”
Wong and Chiu first met while studying abroad at university in the United States, and they wanted to expose their daughter to North American education.
“Education here focusses on how you think, how you present your ideas rather than just rote memory or learning,” Chiu says.
“I wanted to pull her out from Hong Kong to open her eyes, to look at different things, to look at different people, to broaden her mind,” Wong agrees.
Wong had first-hand experience living in Canada from attending high school in Alberta. When the couple looked into immigrating, they found out more about P.E.I. and came to the province under the Provincial Nominee Program.
“I think it’s a good chance for us to start our own business after working for companies for many years,” Wong says. “It’s another step in our life.”
The couple opened Snack GOGO in 2018, with Wong owning the business and Chiu helping particularly with buying and logistics. Wong brings both financial and management skills from work as a financial controller, while Chiu brings international experience from his background as a manufacturing engineer at a U.S.-based technology company in Hong Kong.
Though Snack GOGO sells snacks Asian newcomers might recognize, the couple says many of their first customers were not immigrants — but locals strolling through the mall on their work breaks and spying the snacks inside.
“The business is picking up,” Wong says. “Every month is better than the previous month.”
The couple says they plan to continue promoting the store on social media and increasing their product line. Wong adds she has been considering how to expand, whether by working with partners, selling online or offering delivery.
“We are very excited doing the business in the community. We have met a lot of wonderful people and also making a lot of friends here,” Chiu says.
Wong says she feels amazing when customers find a coveted snack or enjoy one of her samples.
“It makes me happy,” Wong says. “Everybody likes eating and trying new stuff.”