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Marcus Chan

Episode 004

Your Toughest Struggles can Turn into Your Greatest Strengths

Marcus grew up in the San Gabriel Valley and attended Alhambra High School. Following high school, he attended the University of California at Irvine, where his life took a drastic turn. He was kicked out of college and disowned by his parents with only $100 to his name.

Through grit, determination, and the support of friends, Marcus developed the skills would use later on in life to build a multi-million dollar business and open several successful restaurants.

His first venture into entrepreneurship was when he and his uncle started Polymer One America. In their first year of business, they lost $250,000. They turned things around in their second year, earning $500,000 in sales. By only their third year in operation, they were earning over $10,000,000 in sales annually!

Since then, Marcus has opened two Yogurtland restaurants and, most recently, a Dog Haus restaurant. Through it all, he has remained grounded in the roots that have made him a success: hard work and dedication.

His most important work now is spending time with his family. We’re happy to share his story with you!

Polymer One America
556 N. Diamond Bar Blvd, Suite 204
Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Phone: (909) 396-1133

Yogurtland (Monrovia)
104 S. Myrtle Avenue
Monrovia, CA91016
Phone: (626) 256-3337
https://www.yogurt-land.com/locations/view/1318/monrovia

Yogurtland (Rancho Cucamunga
10798 Foothill Blvd.
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
(909) 941-3337
https://www.yogurt-land.com/locations/view/1352/rancho-cucamonga-at-terra-vista-town-center

Dog Haus (Chino Hills)
3330 Grand Avenue, Suite A
Chino Hills, CA 91709
(909) 548-4287
https://chinohills.doghaus.com/

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Marcus Chan Quotes

  • “I did not talk to [my parents] for two years.”
  • “Boots to the pavement, work hard, and assume that the person who works the hardest is going to get the money.”
  • “Being able to speak with people, not being shy, not being reserved – having that skill set opens up a lot of opportunities for you. Those connections will get you where you want to be.”
  • “My greatest fear is laziness.”
  • “I try to keep pretty grounded… The fact that we grew up in San Gabriel Valley with single moms that we saw work hard. We didn’t change from that. Even though we live pretty comfortably, we don’t go above and beyond our means.”
  • “My plan was always to work aggressively and be aggressive with my investments before I was 40.”
  • Marcus moved to San Gabriel Valley at the age of 4
  • Marcus joined a fraternity, went on probation at school, and his parents completely cut him off – which led to a major turning point in his life
  • He learned sales and people skills at MicroTech
  • His Uncle approached him with a business idea, Polymer One, which became a million-dollar business within a few years
  • Marcus is a successful franchise owner of Yogurtland.

What is Marcus’ connection to the San Gabriel Valley?

Marcus and his family came to SGV when he was just four years old in 1978. His family moved to Monterey Park and had been living in Alhambra.

Originally, his family was from Burma, now known as Myanmar. However, much of his family lived in Thailand.
 

What was the transition to SGV like?

At four years old, Marcus’ comprehension of the world around him wasn’t quite vast yet. However, in Thailand, he attended an international school. So, he learned English at a young age, which made the transition much smoother.

In addition, Marcus moved to SGV for preschool. This is a stage where none of the kids nor anyone else, so he did not feel like he was at a disadvantage.

Marcus has a distinct memory of his first day at school. He walked up to the teacher, and he was wearing a shirt with a small elephant on it. The teacher bent down, assuming Marcus might not have known English, and asked him, “Hi, do you know what that is? Can you say ‘elephant?’”

To which Marcus emphatically said, “Yeah, ‘elephant!’”
 

What occurred after high school for Marcus?

Marcus moved to Irvine, CA, and attended the University of California at Irvine.

There, he joined a fraternity, and his grades drastically slipped. He was put on probation, kicked out, and his family ended up disowning him.

He had just about $100 to his name, and he actually went two years without speaking to his parents again.

This was a major turning point in Marcus’ life.

At this point, he had only worked at restaurants and in retail. He had very little money and not many skills to offer for high-income jobs.

One of Marcus’ friends, Connie, alerted Marcus about a company called MicroTech. She had interviewed, but she could not work full-time. She recommended the job to Marcus.

He interviewed and was very upfront with them that he did not possess any sales skills. However, they liked his personable skills and demeanor.
 

What initiated the next stage of Marcus’ life?

Eventually, Marcus and his father reconnected, and his father asked him to go back to school. However, Marcus was now fully invested in the workforce and decided against going back to school, which his father understood.

About a year later, Marcus’ uncle reached out to him to get dinner and offered a business proposition.

His uncle hated his job and suggested buying plastic materials from his father and distributing them in San Gabriel Valley. The plan would be to partner in the business 50/50, with his uncle handling the operational side and Marcus focusing on sales.

Marcus was very strict that he must handle the sales and pricing and not be interfered with.

To separate from the other plastics companies in the area, Marcus made a point to visit all of their customers, meet them face to face, and bring donuts.

He wanted to make a great first impression. They ended up losing $250,000 in 2003, their first year, and in their second year, they made $510,000.

They were only taking a $2,000 monthly salary at first to cover all of their business expenses. But by 2005, they earned 10 million in sales.
 

What is parenthood like? What is Marcus’ parenting style?

Marcus grew up with a single mother and watched her grit and determination and embodied it. However, due to Marcus’ fear of laziness and drive to succeed and provide for his family, around the time his son was 3, he noticed he was like the “secondary parent.”

If his son had a question or needed something, the question was posed to his mother. So, Marcus made a point to cherish time with his son and focus more on family time.

Marcus considers himself more of the fun guy, but they try to be strict and set boundaries.
 

What did Marcus do after Polymer One?

Due to the success of Polymer One, Marcus had acquired a significant amount of wealth, but he didn’t want it to just sit in his bank account. He wanted to generate passive income.

At first, they got into real estate and rental properties. In 2008, Marcus and his wife saw a huge, massive line while driving. They were surprised to see the line and wanted to see what was causing the hype.

It was Yogurtland. He called them and asked them what it would take for Marcus to be part of the franchise. They asked for a meeting, and Marcus was nervous because he didn’t know enough about restaurants.

Thankfully, Marcus had a friend, Anthony, who owned a Subway and had restaurant management experience.

They went in together to the Yogurtland meeting and were surprised because they thought they would be intensely interviewed, but it was a simple “sign a form” process to get involved.
 

What is happening next for Marcus?

Marcus is honest that his aggressive years are likely behind him. Of course, if the right opportunity presents itself in front of Marcus, he will take action.

However, Marcus is finding himself seeking passive income opportunities to cement his retirement and allow him to continue spending more time with his family.
 

Picture of Marcus Chan

Marcus Chan

Alexander’s Steakhouse: Marcus says they always treat you well, they know you by name, and the food is amazing. Plus, they have a whiskey club.

Rick’s Drive-Through: The best place for a burger! Although, Marcus admits this may be due to nostalgia.

Garden Cafe: This is where Marcus met his wife. And he loves the food.