Mary Aregoni
Mary Nguyen Aregoni founded Saigon Sisters in 2009 with her sister out of a desire to become an entrepreneur just like her mother and grandmother did in Vietnam.
Growing up in Southeast Asia created our deep love of delicious food. Both our mother and grandmother were entrepreneurs, with successful ventures in food distribution for specialty markets and embassies in Laos. These gifts surrounded our family with unique influences of Southeast Asian and French cuisines, paving the way for our lovestory with Vietnamese food. Inspired by our history and excitement for the present, Saigon Sisters emerged in 2009, sharing our culinary delights and phenomenal flavors with the world.
Her background was in Marketing and IT at Procter and Gamble where she worked for 20 years supporting their Sales organization. Her jobs took her all over the world and her interest in the hospitality business peaked when she lived in Brussels, Belgium, New York, and Chicago. She noticed that there was an increase interest in Asian cuisine, particularly Vietnamese but there wasn't any recognizable brand in this market segment. in 2009, she took a leap of faith and started Saigon Sisters at the Chicago French Market, the first food hall in Chicago selling Vietnamese Banh mi sandwiches out of a 200 sq ft kiosk.
Mary uses her ingenuity and marketing knowledge to propel Saigon Sisters into a popular local brand that is redefining the Chicago-area food scene serving Vietnamese food and plan to scale it nationally.
Currently she has 3 locations, 2 are in the Loop, 1 inside Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and is planning to open more locations such as airports and main attraction areas before the pandemic.
During her 11 year entrepreneurial journey, she participated in programs such as Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses, Inner City Capital Connections, Neighborhood Entrepreneurial Lab, and James Beard Women Leadership program to develop herself into a strong leader and help/mentor other women to succeed in this competitive field. She loves to coach and develop her employees into star performers and help other entrepreneurs to find solutions to survive through the biggest challenge that the hospitality has ever faced.