By Vancouver Sun |
Kin Wah Leung is in his element, cajoling one customer into buying a melon that is super-sweet and pointing out to another that a big cauliflower was freshly picked. They nod and take his advice. He moves on to banter with another shopper, pointing out the tomatoes that he likes the best.
Leung has had a lot of practice sweet-talking customers in the produce section. This week is the 40th anniversary of Kin’s Farm Market, a company that Leung’s family built from the humblest of beginnings to a chain with 24 locations from Abbotsford to North Vancouver.
“I was twenty-something back then. I am now over 60 years old,” Leung, who is president of the company, said at one of their two Richmond locations, laughing and shaking his head at the time gone by.
Leung’s parents moved their family from Guangzhou in southern China to Vancouver in 1981. In the early days, the family rented the attic of a house in the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood. His father and younger brother worked as dishwashers while his mother found work as a babysitter.
Leung and his sister started out working for two years at a won-ton noodle soup shop in Chinatown. One day, on a break, a friend invited him to travel around Vancouver. They made a stop at Granville Island.