Vietnamese owner, mayor to rename smallest US town

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               Pham Dinh Nguyen at the only gas station in his town Buford

Pham Dinh Nguyen, who bought and became owner and mayor of the US's Buford town last year, will change its name and sell Vietnamese coffee there.

The 39-year-old businessman said he would rename the town "PhinDeli" - Phin being a coffee filter that Vietnamese people use to make their coffee and "Deli" a shortened form for "delicious". It will also be the brand-name of his coffee product, Nguyen said.

He told the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that he hopes this move will help promote his product directly to the American people .

The Vietnamese mayor said he will turn the 200-square-meter convenience store in town into a coffee shop and sell two types of products, deluxe and super-clean coffee, in 250 gram and 500 gram packages.

The coffee will be of guaranteed standard and free of any chemical substance, he said, adding that it was a long process to pass all safety requirements to enter the US market. It was also an "extremely difficult" thing to do, he said.

"We have to provide the Food and Drug Administration with detailed information about the company and the product that we import into the US. How the coffee is produced and transported is also needed information," Nguyen said.

On September 3, when the town is renamed, Nguyen said he will serve free coffee to those who visiting his town, said to be the smallest in the US.

In April 2012, as general director of the Ho Chi Minh City-based International Distribution Services Company (IDS), he bid US$900,000 at an auction to beat 25 people from different countries to win the four-hectare town in Wyoming state, which only had one resident, one convenience store, a gas station and a telephone booth.

                Nguyen (R) and the former mayor of Buford, Don Sammons, the day she bought the town

Since then, he has done nothing to change the town until coming up with the idea of renaming and selling coffee there.

Speaking further about his plan, Nguyen said he has "˜appointed' former mayor of the town, Don Sammons, as his "˜co-mayor'. Sammons will continue his job of directly managing the town

In order to promote for his coffee, Nguyen said he would rely mostly on the Internet because he cannot afford the expensive advertising rates in the US.

The town's owner said he hopes his story of changing the town's name and selling coffee will attract local press and media as well as other people on the social networks, which will help to lure more visitors to come.

The announcement of changing the town's name will be printed on the product's bag and new billboards with the PhinDeli name will replace the old ones along the highway from Cheyenne, capital city Wyoming, 60 kilometers away from Buford, to the town to inform drivers, he added.

The Vietnamese man admitted that it is a tough road ahead for his business and said that his first targeted consumers will be the Vietnamese Americans, who are somehow familiar with the Vietnamese-style coffee.

For distributing, Nguyen will first sell the products via online-market Amazon, and will try to have them on shelves at some supermarkets, starting first at the area of Asian people in the US, then to bigger supermarket chains in the country.

"It is obvious that nothing is simple, but I'm ready to make this dream of selling Vietnamese coffee in the US come true" he said, adding that he is "as excited to begin this new journey as when he bought the town."

 

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