Superior Tofu Community Fund
We have come a long way from pulling a little red wagon around Chinatown…..
In 1972, I immigrated to Vancouver with my family. No sooner had we unpacked our suitcases than we joined my grandparents’ tofu store in Chinatown. My grandparents Cheong Lee, and Tam Lee started the tofu store in 1940s. In those days, it was back breaking work – my grandpa would be up 3 o’clock in the morning to hand craft blocks of tofu, which he delivered to his customers in a little red wagon. This was his daily routine for 30 years before my grandparents both retired.
My parents; Kok Cheng and Nancy Cheng succeeded the business and together they modernized the manufacturing process. Amongst some of the improvements: they replaced grandpa’s old wok with a steam cooker and used a mechanical press instead of the old “gravity” (i.e. rock) press. Even so, like my grandpa, my parents maintained the long hours, starting their day at 3 o’clock in the morning. And they did this every day until their retirement in the 80’s.
Superior Tofu was started by my business partner Percy and his parents; Tung Lam Chan and Sui Fong Chan in 1982. Our first location was a small 1,200 sq ft store at Commercial Street & 2nd Avenue. They made the tofu at the rear of the store while the front was for retail. Like my grandparents, and parents; Tung Lam and Sui Fong started their day 3 o’clock in the morning. They worked tirelessly to craft perfect blocks of tofu; 363 days a year. On the first day of business, they made a whopping $2.00 in sales! Then, words got around the neighbourhood about the quality of our tofu, and soon, Superior Tofu became a thriving business. Today, 25 years and 4 locations later, we lead the industry in setting the highest standard of tofu manufacturing and our annual sales are in millions.
While we enjoy our success, it is important to us not to forget those who have contributed: our dedicated staff, our business associates and of course our customers. We also want to remember our heritage and our roots. Our heritage is Chinese. Our roots are family and the local community regardless of ethnic origin.
Over the years, we have shared our success by supporting many local organizations such as S.U.C.C.E.S.S., Richmond Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Royal Columbian Hospital, Red Cross, United Way, and Breast Cancer Foundation. We also sponsor many community events around the city.
Through Vancouver Foundation, we have established the Superior Tofu Community Fund to further our objective in giving back to the community. The Fund serves as a monument to everyone who contributed and as a perpetual gift to the community, which we are forever in debt for their support and loyalty.
To learn more about Vancouver Foundation. Please visit their web site website