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Business owner awarded for entrepreneurial spirit

A distinguished journey of immigration to entrepreneurship was recognized earlier this month.
20190320 Amy Giang DL 0036
Amy Giang poses with her 2019 Immigrants of Distinction Award at Lube Town in Okotoks on March 20.

A distinguished journey of immigration to entrepreneurship was recognized earlier this month.

Okotoks business owner Amy Giang took home the 2019 Immigrants of Distinction Award in the category of Entrepreneurship and Innovation on March 15 to celebrate her entrepreneurial work, which began when she founded Lube Town in Okotoks.

In 1985, Giang, then nine, and her family emigrated from what is now known as Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Calgary. Giang’s parents made the sacrifice to come to Canada so their children could receive an education.

“It was incredible,” Giang said of her first experiences in Canada. “There is value in human life, there’s freedom, there’s opportunity, there’s education, and it’s probably one of the few places in the world that’s welcoming to newcomers.”

The family was unable to bring any of their possessions from Vietnam, so they came with nothing, and spent all of their money buying winter coats.

“We grew up not having a lot, but just everything we needed,” she said. “I never perceived myself as poor, but other people did.”

The hard work, and sacrifices her parents made, encouraged Giang to attend the University of Calgary for a degree in computer science. After university, she worked in software development for unmanned aerial vehicles used by the military, but she began to realize her passion was in entrepreneurship.

Giang eventually quit her job in software development to return to school for her masters in business administration. At this point she was approached with an opportunity to buy into a mechanic shop.

“Someone said, if you want to learn about business, you have to be in business,” said Giang.

Once she began working at the mechanic shop, which she now owned, she realized she didn’t know anything about running it.

“Tomorrow, if the only thing I can do is clean the toilet, let it be the cleanest toilet there is in any shop,” said Giang. “The next day I woke up with a mission to clean the toilet.”

With that mindset she continued forward with a mission to learn something new every day, and over time became an expert in owning a mechanic shop.

In 2008, Giang was eight months pregnant with her first child when she decided it was time to build a business from the ground up.

This was the beginning of Lube Town in Okotoks, an express oil change shop.

“Two incredible things were happening at the same time. It was alignment,” said Giang.

A few years later, she was five months pregnant with her second child, when she opened her second Lube Town location in Calgary.

She has since opened a third Lube Town location, as well her unique businesses, and Village Tree Fund. Giang has also been featured in Avenue Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2016, and was voted for Consumer Choice Award 2019.

As CEO of Lube Town, she says her businesses stands out from others because her employees go above and beyond for each customer that comes through their doors.

“That’s how we make a mark in the town,” said Giang.

The Immigrants of Distinction Awards are presented annually by Immigrant Services Calgary. The 23rd annual event was held March 15 at Mount Royal University’s Bella Concert Hall.

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