image by matthew nauser & nymag
Benjamin Shih, owner of Sweet Up’s and Royal Oak, talks with New York Magazine about his life in the National Guard, and how a $150,000 “Patriot Express” business loan helped him expand what New York Mag calls his “hipster-bar mini-empire”.
How does one go from Williamsburg to the front lines of the war of terror? According to Shih, It’s all a part of the American Dream.
Shih’s family arrived from Taipei in 1968. ‚”It was the American Dream,” he says. Shih went on to get both a law degree and tattoos, and then worked for Lexis-Nexis. He wanted to be his own boss, and in 2002, he used his savings to open Sweet Up’s. But he always wanted to be in the military, too; he identifies with his fellow soldiers. ‚”They’re often poor, they value education, obligation‚Äîthe social contract,” he says. ‚”I have a foot in both worlds.”
He’s likely to be shipped off to Afghanistan next year.
Read the rest at New York Mag.