Cambodian Refugee Turned Coffee Shop Owner

Linda Thach in front of Little Skips café. (Photo via Bushwick Daily)

In the years since opening Bushwick coffee shop Little Skips in 2010, owner Linda Thach has seen her business flourish: not only has it broadened to become an event space, it now boasts four locations including one in Manhattan. One of those spots, named Baby Skips, sits side-by-side with a Vietnamese eatery.

According to Bushwick Daily‘s Abigail Koffler, in 2014, Thach “saw a space, too big for a restaurant and too big for a coffee shop, but the perfect size for a hybrid.” Thus emerged Little MO and Baby Skips. Thach picked up her hard work ethic from her family’s defense manufacturing company in Florida, started by her father who first worked in the U.S. as a dishwasher to pay for school.

Thach and her family escaped the end of Pol Pot’s regime in Cambodia by walking from “Cambodia to Thailand to find asylum in the refugee camp. Our family lived in refugee camps in Thailand and then the Philippines for a couple years before immigrating to the U.S. after finding a sponsor (this was a very traumatic time as we were always hungry since there was little food for all the refugees and barely enough shelter for everyone so most slept on dirt ground).”

What else has changed since the early days of Little Skips? The rent. When the café’s lease expires at the end of this year, the rent will double, putting Little Skips’ future in question. Still, Thach has big hopes for the future that include a Cambodian restaurant and plans for a CSA at Baby Skips. Read more at Bushwick Daily.

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