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Gong Cha, the international boba tea brand with nearly 1,600 locations around the world, has announced it will open its first corporate-owned U.S. location in Naperville’s H Mart. Over 100 franchised locations can be found across states like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, and California.
A press release from last month shared the company’s plans to continue a corporate-owned expansion in Illinois, with at least four additional stores slated to open in downtown Chicago and the surrounding area following the opening of the Naperville location. Add 50 to that, and you’ve got the company’s long term goal.
The corporate expansion will be headed by Director of Operations John Malesh who has over 25 years of experience working with fast casual brands. “We look forward to opening Gong cha’s first corporate-owned stores here in the U.S.,” said Malesh in the press release. “We believe in the strength and global appeal of this brand, as well as the popularity of bubble tea in general, and are excited to invest in Gong Cha’s growth in this target market before extending the opportunity to our franchisees.”
Gong Cha was founded in Taiwan in 2006. It’s become known for its high quality teas, which are brewed fresh every four hours, as well as its pearls which are also produced every four hours. The second Gong Cha USA store opened in Flushing, Queens in 2014. You’ll want to try the company’s “Milk Foam,” or the slightly salted cream topping that’s become popular in the US.
Although an exact date has not been announced, you should keep an eye out for the bubble tea shop in early 2022.