Our 2010 Small Business Awards - Page 5

Break the chains! From a spunky salon to a 100-year-old speakeasy, our annual salute to small business highlights local entrepeneurs who blow away the competition

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Deena Davenport of Glama-Rama, our 2010 Woman in Business
Photo by Pat Mazzera. Additional photos by Ben Hopfer

Raymond Ow-Yang tends to downplay the impact he's had on the North Beach-Chinatown artistic landscape. The owner of New Sun Hong Kong restaurant, Ow-Yang put up the funds to have the iconic Jazz Mural painted on the Columbus and Broadway walls of his Chinese restaurant. The artist Bill Weber approached him in 1988 — securing an approximately $70,000 aesthetic gift to the community that Ow-Yang has never sought public recognition for.

"Back then you're young, you have no brain. I thought, this is nice — it's something you do because you feel like it," Ow-Yang recalls dismissively.

"Nice"is an understatement. The mural, which depicts famous San Francisco figures and scenes, has become one of the neighborhood's visual joys, stopping tourists in their photo-snapping tracks. The gift reflects Ow-Yang's commitment to the streets he grew up on

He immigrated to Chinatown from Canton in 1962, at age 13. A lifelong entrepreneur, Ow-Yang owned a photo studio, a floral shop, and a restaurant in Oakland's Chinatown (the original Sun Hong Kong) before opening at 606 Broadway in 1989. The restaurant is open until 3 a.m. every day — a timetable residents can appreciate for more reasons than just Ow-Yang's post-bar won ton soup. "Before, people were afraid to walk through this area," says the businessman. "Now there's a lot more foot traffic — the city even put up traffic lights. With the bright lights [from New Sun Hong Kong], it's a lot safer in this area." (Donohue)

RAYMOND OW-YANG

New Sun Hong Kong

606 Broadway, SF

(415) 956-3338