MARSHALL - Hmongs have made the Marshall area their home for many years now, but haven't operated any businesses in Marshall.
John Moua of Marshall is the first of his community to open a business.
Moua Wireless opened in October of 2009 and is doing well, he said.
Photo by Karin Elton
Moua Wireless owner John Moua, employee Erick Flores and employee Bliathae Moua stand in their office East College Drive.
"I didn't like working in factories," Moua said. "I wanted my own business."
Moua, whose family came to Marshall in 1990, attended Marshall High School before dropping out. He later earned his General Equivalency Degree.
He was just 22 when he started his own business. Moua said he didn't see any other prepaid cell phone stores around so he thought he would open one. He learned about the service on the job after signing up with Page Plus.
"We buy and sell our own cell phones and use Page Plus cellular service," he said.
Moua said last January was busy with a lot of customers buying new phones, but now business has tapered off with people mostly coming in to pay for the service.
"It's kind of slow," he said.
Moua estimates that his business clientele is 40 percent Spanish-speaking, 40 percent Hmong-speaking, 10 percent White and 10 percent Somali and other.
They come for the low price, he said.
"The plans are so cheap," he said.
"There is no contract, no credit check and no deposit," Bliathae Moua said. Bliathae Moua is John's father who comes in to help out as needed he said.
Also, ethnic groups feel comfortable using their service since their language is spoken at Moua Wireless.
"We speak English, Spanish and some Somali," Bliathae Moua said.
Employee Erick Flores also comes in to help out whenever he is needed, he said.
Moua said it's "pretty cool" that he started the first Hmong business in Marshall. His cousin, Keo Rasmussen, also has a business in Marshall - Keo's Closet.
Moua said he likes living and working in Marshall.
"I really can't see myself moving out," he said. "It's a nice town."