Hillcrest

San Diego Sisters Launch Business During Pandemic and Share AAPI Culture

NBC 7

A pair of San Diego sisters are following in their family’s footsteps as small business owners.

The Quidachays beat the odds and built a successful coffee and plant shop, La Marque Café, in Hillcrest during the pandemic. They’ve been using their platform to raise awareness about Asian American Pacific Islander cultures.

“Growing up and just watching my dad and my uncles just hustle, really work for what they wanted, and what they wanted to give all of us, it was inspiring,” said Tiyana Quidachay, co-owner of the café.

Quidachay was born into a family of business owners and hard workers with deep roots in the Philippines and Guam. Her grandparents emigrated to the U.S. and paved the way for the rest of the family.

“We would not be here if they didn’t work as hard as they did,” Quidachay said.

She and her sister, Alyssa Quidachay, share the family’s entrepreneurial spirit and the pandemic wasn’t going to get in the way of their dreams. They opened La Marque Café in January.

“I think it’s always better to take that opportunity and roll with it,” Tiyana said.

The sisters have faced hiring challenges, evolving COVID-19 regulations and parklet problems. Their custom-built parklet wasn’t up long before the city asked it be removed for a bicycle lane project.

“It was huge, so it could fit so many people … It was so nice,” remembered Tiyana as she showed NBC 7 where the parklet used to be. “We had permits that said we can keep it until at least June or July.”

Tiyana said they lost business shortly after dismantling the parklet but her supporters showed up strong and they were able to continue growing their business.  

The obstacles the Quidachay sisters have dealt with go beyond business, however.

The AAPI community has been at the center of a growing list of hate-crimes.

“[It’s hard to watch], especially to our culture, when all we’ve given was love and affection, so we’re here to stop that and spread love and positivity,” Tiyana said.

Tiyana said her family’s culture, as Pacific Islanders, embodies love and generosity, and she said she feels that, the more people she can touch in a positive way, the closer society can get to finding peace among all cultures and ethnicities.

“I think people knowing our culture, that we are Filipino, Guamanian, Americans, knowing that, us here, we can spread as much love as we can and hopefully them spreading it back,” Tiyana said.

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