An effort to save his father’s wholesale vegetable business has turned into a thriving online marketplace for one local entrepreneur. Now, the business is expanding into a warehouse in Queens.
It’s a business born out of the pandemic. Joseph Boo’s new company started as an effort to save his dad’s wholesale vegetable business in Brooklyn.
“A lot of the supermarkets had shutdown. So he had lost a lot of his order flows,” said Boo, the founder of Asian Veggies. “So, in an effort to just break even on the produce, he pivoted to doing retail orders.”
Boo started breaking down bulk quantities of vegetables and Asian specialty foods to sell smaller portions to the average consumer. He says his dad was relying on word of mouth to get the word out.
“And I told him, you could do bigger. Let me create a website and help you market this,” said Boo.
And that’s how Asian Veggies was born. Boo launched the website in April, and says it was an immediate success.
“Our customers were very receptive to what we were doing,” said Boo. “They were the ones saying it would be great if you could add this, add this.”
Boo said initially he thought the website would be a temporary project — while quarantine shutdowns kept people at home. But even as restrictions loosened, and as his dad’s wholesale business got back on track, the orders kept coming in.
“It turns out there’s a lot of customers out there who just love the convenience to access the Asian specialty goods,” said Boo.
So, Boo expanded the business. Now, he’s stacking orders in a 7,000 square foot warehouse in Maspeth, Queens. He averages about 30 orders a day and delivers to Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, as well as parts of Long Island and New Jersey.
“We’re slowly building out our inventory,” said Boo.
And sourcing items that are hard to find, like Thai chili peppers. Making Asian comfort foods available to the consumer’s doorstep — all with a click of a mouse.