A Taste of the Philippines comes to Northwest Minnesota
|Golden Sun food truck trailer|
|Golden Sun beef egg rolls|
“I call her a lot to ask about recipes and cooking advice,” said Dennice.
Renzo moved to Bemidji from the Phillippines in 2007 with his mom. In 2016, Dennice decided to make the move to be closer to Renzo and to join him in the business venture.
“I always knew I wanted to open a business, I just didn’t know what kind,” said Renzo. He received his business degree from Northwest Technical College, and started working for Affinity Plus. Dennice was working as a Medical Technician at Sanford Health. Together, they decided to take the plunge and start taking the steps to opening their own business. After being turned down by a number of banks, they sought help from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Deb McGregor, a business consultant with the SBDC directed them to the LaunchPad in Bemidji to find advice and resources for opening a business. She also introduced them to Grant Oppegaard, another SBDC consultant.
Together, they were able to come up with a viable business plan, and decided to come to the Northwest Minnesota Foundation to apply for a loan through the Entrepreneur Development Program. By winter of 2017, they were able to purchase a custom built trailer that would be used as their food truck. They spent a week traveling to Georgia to pick it up. They set-up for the first time in the spring of 2018, and since have been traveling to a number of towns outside of Bemidji and setting up for a number of festivals and events throughout the summer.
|Pineapple pork adobo with fried rice|
“It’s a lot of traveling, but we want to serve these dishes the way they are meant to be enjoyed, which means using the most authentic Filipino ingredients that we can find,” said Dennice.
|Renzo and Dennice use a Ford F-150 to haul the food truck|
trailer around the region
Golden Sun has a website and a Facebook page, but they said most of their business has come from word of mouth. They see a number of regulars, and said many of them are military veterans who have enjoyed Filipino cuisine while on deployment. They rotate menu items based on their inventory and to offer people a chance to try different dishes.
When asked what’s next for this thriving business, Renzo and Dennice said their dream would be to open an oriental food store of their own in Bemidji. They also hope to do more catering. Dennice is even working on convincing her mom to move to Bemidji from the Philippines to help expand the business.
Renzo said the best advice he could give someone thinking about opening their own business in northwest Minnesota is to just take the plunge.
“Keep your head up, don’t get discouraged when things don’t go as planned. And don’t hesitate to ask for help,” said Renzo.