Passion, integrity and quality is
Sugar Bowl Bakery’s recipe for success
COURTESY SUGAR BOWL BAKERY
By T. Foster Jones
In 1979, 24-year-old Andrew Ly immi- outs, the story behind the Ly family and Sugar
grated to the United States from Vietnam Bowl Bakery takes on a particular relevance.
with $1 in his pocket. Thirty years later, Pulling themselves up by their bootstraps,
Ly heads a multi-million-dollar family relying on each other, the first and now the
empire. The company produces thousands of second generation are living proof of the
baked goods for national and international American dream.
clients that range from five-star hotels and
chains such as Costco and Starbucks to neigh- Escape to freedom
borhood convenience stores. Like thousands of “boat people” refugees
Theirs is a story of immigrant success. It’s streaming to America after the Communist
a story of family, and family loyalty. It’s a rags- takeover of Vietnam, Andrew Ly lacked money
to-riches story of hardscrabble dedication and knew little English. What he did have was
and a testament to what can be accomplished family—his parents and four brothers who
with sacrifice, persistence, vision and hard, had managed to escape to the United States at
hard work. In this day of bailouts and hand- separate times over the previous two years.
The five brothers—Tom, Binh, Andrew,
Sam and Paul—and their parents had all
arrived in San Francisco. Each had come via a
different route, literally dodging bullets, surviving being hijacked and robbed by pirates,
and enduring time in refugee camps before
finding freedom in America.
From the start, their goal was to work
wherever they could until they saved enough
to buy their own business, something to
secure the family’s financial future.
The brothers and their wives found work
as kitchen assistants, dishwashers and newspaper carriers. Sam fried traditional Chinese
doughnuts in his home kitchen and sold them
20 The Costco Connection FEBRUARY2009
All in the fami-Ly: (left to right)
Paul, Michael, Andrew, Laura,
Binh, Mark and Kevin Ly.