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Meet a Roadrunner: UTSA education helps alumna Tracy Xie run her restaurant
(Oct. 16, 2013) -- Meet Tracy Xie '99. Her bachelor's degree from UTSA prepared her for jobs in banking, financial services and insurance. And, for seven years, she has been running a Chinese restaurant.
When you open the door of China Bistro, you are greeted by her father, who gives you a big wave and a smile, or by Tracy, who says "Welcome! Welcome!" -- and after only one visit calls you by name and shakes your hand or gives you a big hug.
"My first goal was to be a chief financial officer for a big company, but I went a bit smaller," said Tracy. "But, our hands are full, and it's a family affair."
She says her bachelor's degree in business administration and finance laid a good foundation and gave her the knowledge and skills that paved the way to entrepreneurship. Coincidentally, her husband, Keng Xie, also is a UTSA alum. He earned his M.S. degree in computer science in 2001 and is now a defense contractor.
Tracy and her parents came from a city near Hong Kong to the United States in 1991. Her husband had come to the States in 1988, and they met here and were married in 1997. They have a 12-year-old daughter, Kelsey, a nine-year old daughter, Venice, and a four-year-old son, Dylan Bo. Since going into business, several close friends who are like family, an uncle and a cousin have come from China to work with her at the restaurant and help with raising the children.
Already in operation, they bought the restaurant on Babcock Road, south of the Prue Road intersection, more than seven years ago and further developed the business. When the economy went downhill in 2008, they managed to hold on. The bigger challenge came in 2010-2011, when road improvements on Babcock periodically blocked an entrance to the small shopping center and reduced traffic on the street. A bakery, a Mexican restaurant and a doctor's office came and went, but China Bistro remained.
"We love our loyal customers who got us through it," Xie said. "A lot of young Roadrunners come into our restaurant, and we all get along because we're part of that UTSA family. We hope our three children will go to UTSA, too, to carry on a family tradition."
China Bistro has a great takeout business. Sometimes there are some empty tables, but generally the phone rings off the hook with orders. And, customers don't just leave with full stomachs or bags of tasty Chinese food. They also are taking out good will and a big smile.
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