Papillion Owner Oum is Honored as Lafayette's Business Person of the Year
By Cathy Dausman
Brenda Oum and husband Tom Chea Photo provided
Brenda Oum serves more than coffee in the cozy corner café that is Papillion Quality Gourmet Coffees. True, there is also an abundant selection of tea and pastries, but it is the ambiance and customer service which make her place stand out in an age of coffee house franchises.
Oum is Lafayette's 2017 Business Person of the Year. She will be honored at a dinner Jan. 27 at Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa. Chamber of Commerce director Jay Lifson said Oum was one of several names suggested and that more than 40 customers nominated her for the award.
She says she was in shock when Lifson notified her. "I love doing this right now," Oum said, "I love the customers and I love the community - they support us."
One customer called Oum's "The Cheers of Lafayette," referring to the iconic hit television show. One Facebook fan called Papillion "a most welcoming and pleasant coffee shop." Another announced "Friends don't let friends go to (a well-known coffee chain)."
Oum and husband Tom Chea purchased Papillion about four years ago. Their previous business was a donut shop in Pleasant Hill which they have since sold to family. Their three daughters work behind the counter when not in school. "I'm so excited and really, really happy (about being selected)," said Oum. Sometimes, it seems customers just want to go "where everybody knows your name..."
Oum is a familiar name in Lafayette and all of Lamorinda not just for pouring coffee and good cheer. Her life was the subject of a book, "Remember to Remember," by local author Jil Plummer. The book was released in February, with over 100 people attending the Feb. 14 book launch at Papillon. (See story http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1004/Book-Chronicles-Life-in-Cambodias-Killing-Fields-From-a-Locals-View.html.)
Lafayette selects both a Business Person of the Year and Citizen of the Year; the latter will be announced in March, deadline for nominations falls in February.
The 2017 Business Person of the Year event begins with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Reservations are $65 per person and must be received by noon, Jan. 24. For details, go online to http://tinyurl.com/haorcmn.