After attending Penn State University, Skye Chang was looking to start his own venture. To learn what it’s like to run a business, he moved to California in 2012 to work for a tech startup that developed smart watches. While the company ultimately closed, Chang had gained the knowledge and confidence to start his own business.
Chang’s family has been in the food business for many years, so it was a natural fit for him to expand on that personal experience. As a State College resident, he had seen the lack of food diversity in town and wanted to offer something new to the local community. After brainstorming with his mother, he decided on an Asian bakery, to be called Chew Chew Bun.
Chang had worked with the Penn State SBDC on an earlier venture, so he reconnected with business consultant John Peterson for support with his new idea. Peterson was able to provide marketing/storytelling approaches for Chew Chew Bun’s website, industry and market research to strengthen business operations, and assistance developing financials and a business plan using the Live Plan business planning tool.
With added support from the Penn State Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic, Chang set up an LLC and launched his home-based bakery in April 2019. And while many businesses struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chang had a solid infrastructure in place that allowed him to serve clients remotely and be successful during challenging times.
Business was so good that by the end of 2020, Chang began to consider opening a brick-and-mortar location. At that point, Peterson and Penn State SBDC graduate assistant, Alice Liu, helped him identify potential locations, shop for a bank/credit union, understand the process of applying for permits, and negotiate a lease agreement.
While Chang had initially looked at locations in downtown State College, he found real estate to be incredibly expensive. He ultimately found the right spot at the Nittany Mall, successfully negotiated pricing and terms, and closed the deal in April of 2021.
Since this was his first time opening a physical location, Chang took his time following health and safety protocols and identifying the right architect to turn his dream into a reality. By November of 2021, Chew Chew Bun’s new location was complete and opened its doors. Traffic has been steady ever since.
“I recommend the SBDC to anyone who wants to start a business – I have recommended them to others” says Chang. “For those who want to start a business but don’t know where to start, I would encourage them to reach out to the SBDC.”