Tony Bo Chan has a background in fashion design, and was a long-time entrepreneur prior to becoming a restaurateur, founding two fashion labels and opening two stores. While he experienced success in the business, the travel wore on him, and in order to spend more time at home, he decided to open a restaurant in lower Manhattan – following in the footsteps of his father and grandmother, who each had experience opening restaurants of their own.

Bowery Gyokai was established in 2017 and opened for business the following year. (Using his prior professional background, Mr. Chan designed the interior of the restaurant himself.) He told Miami Living magazine that one of his goals in opening the restaurant was to “fill a void” in the neighborhood, and he succeeded, quickly attracting customers and rave reviews.

Mr. Chan first approached Renaissance shortly after forming his business in 2017. While he periodically kept in touch with Renaissance counselors, his relationship with the organization deepened shortly after COVID-19’s outbreak, when Renaissance became the first CDFI nationally to launch an emergency small business loan program. Renaissance provided Mr. Chan with $20,000 in emergency financing in May 2020, and an SBA PPP loan the following year. Since then, Mr. Chan has received financing from Renaissance twice more, including $75,000 in December 2023 that will help him significantly upgrade the restaurant’s equipment.

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