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Matthew Hui

Episode 125

Creating a business to taking over business

Matthew Hui is the owner-operator of SKY Smog and Test Only, a small business specializing in performing smog check certifications for vehicles registered in California.

As a no stranger to the SGV, Matthew grew up in Monterey Park and is a graduate of Mark Keppel High School. After completing his undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley in 2008, he returned back to Monterey Park and worked in Quality Assurance at Activision-Blizzard on the game, “Call of Duty.”

In 2011, at 23, along with 2 other friends from high school, Matthew opened his first business “Fluff Ice,” a unique shaved ice concept that now operates as a food truck.

In 2016, Matthew took over as owner-operator of “KY Smog”, a business that his dad “Kai Yee” left to him after his passing. In 2019, the business was renamed “SKY Smog” as a way to honor his father but also to think bigger.

In his free time, Matthew hangs out with his 2 dogs, Coco and Bing Bing, and plays tennis. He also performs as a DJ under the name “DJ $HERLOCK” and dreams of going on tour one day.

Matthew is also one of the co-founders of MPAC (Monterey Park Arts Collective), a volunteer organization that works with the City of Monterey Park to produce “Electric Park,” a free semi-annual family friendly event that brings the local community together to experience the power of dance through Electronic Dance Music.

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Matthew Hui Quotes

  • “But everyone thought I was really social, and so they all thought I was a social butterfly and an extrovert, and I kind of think I am, but I realized I kind of like the introversion time.”
  • “My mom was an RN at Garfield Medical Hospital. So she was there for 31 years. So she’s the one that taught me about the importance of consistency.”
  • “The more that I know who I am as a person, the more I can say no to things that I don’t like. Nothing that kind of doesn’t help me to become a better person, then I’m not really interested in it.”
  • “Here’s a tip. If you have a hybrid car, remember, your battery will die at some point.”
  • Matthew Hui is the owner-operator of SKY Smog and Test Only
  • Matthew has spent the majority of his life in Monterey Park in San Gabriel Valley
  • Matthew Hui opened Fluff Ice, which now operates as a food truck
  • In 2008, Matthew worked in Quality Assurance at Activision-Blizzard on the popular video game Call of Duty.
  • In his free time, Matthew Hui is also a DJ under the name “DJ $HERLOCK”
  • Matthew Hui went to college at UC Berkeley

What is Matthew Hui’s connection to San Gabriel Valley?

Matthew Hui has spent the majority of his life in Monterey Park. He grew up going to Brightwood Elementary School and then Mark Keppel High School.


What was Matthew’s childhood like in Monterey park?

Matthew claims he never had great self-awareness, which he attributes to being an only child without any siblings to keep him in check. He went through life without realizing he had a lot of angst, some of which he believes is natural from being an Asian American.

Matthew struggled to make friends even though, on the outside, it likely appeared that he was pretty social. Many thought he was a social butterfly. However, he realized that he was actually an introvert. He tried to find a balance between the two.


What was Matthew Hui’s upbringing like?

Matthew had a good childhood. Unfortunately, his father passed away seven years ago as of the recording of this episode. His parents always felt like they never did enough with their lives, which, in turn, has impacted Matthew’s outlook on his own existence. Matthew has continued feeling a strong pressure to make something meaningful out of his life.
His mother was an RN at Garfield Medical Hospital for 31 years and taught Matthew the value of consistency.


Did Matthew find his identity through singing and debate?

Matthew believes that’s where he first started to find it. He was surrounded by a good group of people who helped form the person he is today.


What was Matthew’s college experience like?

Matthew loved college. He joined a frat and found it to be an exciting time when a ton of high-profile athletes were coming out of college, like Aaron Rodgers and Marshawn Lynch. There was a lot of tailgating, but he also discovered around that time that he had strong coping mechanisms and ADHD.


How did Matthew start his business, “Fluff Ice?”

When Matthew was 23, he started his business, “Fluff Ice.” It is essentially a shaved ice food truck. They took the truck to a ton of cool events and festivals around the area. He even made his way to other cities, such as Las Vegas.


What were Matthew’s career dreams?

Matthew wanted to do political campaign consulting. He also wanted to do policy work and to help provide resources in any way possible. But he also didn’t want to jump right into a career. So, after college, he played a lot of Call of Duty and actually went to the studio that made it.


What did Matthew’s father do?

Matthew’s father started a smog shop down the street from where they lived. It was called KY Smog. His father was a gentle, kind, and very hard-working man. Unfortunately, he passed away just a little over half a decade after acquiring the business from pancreatic cancer.

How did Matthew’s family discover his father had pancreatic cancer?

His father was just hurting inside, but being such a proud person, he didn’t want to admit being in pain. So, it got too far before he got checked out by the doctors. Stress does not help, either, and near the end of his life, Matthew’s father was fairly stressed.


Are there people still trying to do illegal smog?

Matthew mentioned that someone came up to him the other day and told him he does illegal smog. Matthew shrugged but wanted to warn him that that could lead to extensive jail time if he got caught.


How do smog centers work?

Some centers only do tests, and others do tests and repairs. Smog centers are also responsible for the certification.


What car does Matthew currently drive?

Matthew drives a Nissan Ultima Hybrid. Matthew’s tip for those who drive a hybrid is to remember your battery will die at some point.

Picture of Matthew Hui

Matthew Hui

Harmony Spa in Monterey Park

Barnes Park, where Matthew loves to play pickleball

Electric Park