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Community Highlights: Meet Robert Lo of Boba Tea Lounge

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robert Lo.

Hi Robert, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Growing up in the San Gabriel Valley in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, boba tea shops were the go to spot for all students. As we spent most of our time hanging out at these boba shops, I dreamt that one day I will be able to open a boba shop to serve the students of the community.

We opened our doors in November of 2014. For the first 2 1/2 years, it was only my wife Stephanie and I taking orders and making all the drinks from open to close every single day. In February of 2017, we were finally able to hire our very first barista, Yesenia Reynaldo, and we’re thankful she’s still a part of the BTL team today. Over the next few years, we were able to expand the Boba Tea Lounge team to about 10-12 baristas.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road was not smooth at all.

Even though our store hours are from 11am to 10pm for five days a week and until 12am for two days a week, we still had to wake up early in the morning, sometimes as early as 6am to start buying supplies. Even after closing, we’re still there to clean up and prepare for the following morning.

For the first 2 1/2 years, it was only my wife and I in the front, so that meant we had to do literally everything. From making drinks, cleaning, sanitizing, inventory, prepping, the tasks were endless.

As you know, we’re big fans of Boba Tea Lounge. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about the brand?
Boba Tea Lounge is a small local shop that serves quick snacks and drinks for anyone that is in a time crunch.

We are known for our cereal boba shakes, which is basically a vanilla-based shake with cereal or candy blended inside. A few of our popular shakes would be the Fruity Pebbles Cereal Shake, Crunch Berries Cereal Shake, Kit Kat Shake, Herhey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Shake. Aside from the shakes, we also offer iced teas, milk teas, coffee, lemonades, horchata infused drinks. Our crispy spam musubi, chicken musubi, shrimp musubi and popcorn chicken are also very popular.

We also cater to all sorts of events, such as company parties, birthday parties, local church fairs, high school fundraisers, weddings, etc.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
The most important lesson is to never give up. Even though we wanted to give up many times when we first opened, looking back now, we are glad we kept our passion of offering a great place for students to hang out.

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