East Side Stories
Meng Motors: Truly A Family Business
When Por Yang and his wife, Lee Moua Yang, returned to Minnesota after living in Oklahoma, they knew they wanted to start a business working with cars, a passion Por had since his youth. They heard about a shop being sold on the East Side of St. Paul and jumped at the opportunity. In 2013, they established Meng Motors, named after their oldest son who was serving in the military.
The shop sits on a small corner lot on East 7th Street and started out working mostly on cars from residents in the neighborhood. Then in 2015, Por worked with the Asian Economic Development Association on financing, allowing them to start buying and selling used cars as well.
Fing Meng Yang moved back to Minnesota in 2017 to help his parents with their small business. Fing and Por work on the cars coming in and out of the shop, while Fing’s mother handles the administrative work.
Teeko Yang, Fing’s older sister, recently set up a website for the company and hopes to introduce her parents to new technology to help with the administrative work.
“My dad tried to manage his own social media. It’s hard whenever you’re just a mom and pop shop to do all of those things at once. He’s been trying,” Teeko said.
“My parents are incredibly resilient and smart,” Teeko said regarding her parents’ lack of formal education. “To be able to be in the space and be able to build this, they’re really stubborn in their ways of how they do things. It’s pretty amazing. This started out as an auto body shop, after that he decided to sell used cars and that created another layer, now they started towing. So, three components in one thing.”
The family’s long term goal is to expand the shop so they’re exploring options. They are also seeking opportunities to learn more about business strategy, administrative training, how to streamline operations to be more efficient with their customers, and marketing.
“I’d like to see it grow,” Fing said. “We don't have a lot of space here to work with. We have a two car garage and not a lot of parking so we have to turn customers away because of that.”
“I like hands on stuff, I don’t mind getting dirty,” Fing said. When asked if he plans to stay with the family business, Fing jokes, “Probably, it’s named after me!”
This story was a part of the 'Stories from the East Side' series from the other media group: