LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, some local businesses have been able to expand to growing areas of the valley.

No. 1 Boba Tea” has been a mainstay in Las Vegas for more than 20 years. The family-run business has branched out to eight different locations, with plans to expand even further.

Amy Zhang Warthan started running the original No. 1 Boba Tea – Chinatown location more than 15 years ago.

Amy Zhang Warthan — CEO of “No. 1 Boba Tea”

“At the beginning, not many people actually know boba,” Zhang Warthan said. “So, we had to educate customers and explain what boba is.”

She says it has taken years of outreach to expand her business, which offers boba — a tea-based drink often mixed with milk or fruit for flavor with chewy tapioca pearls at the bottom.

“Soon we hear customers say ‘why don’t you come to my side of town?’” Zhang Warthan said. So that’s how we started expanding and thinking ‘oh customers actually want this boba in their neighborhood.'”

In early March, a new spot will open in the northwest valley at Durango and Centennial Parkway. The team decided to open this location due to the lack of boba options in that area, and how quickly the northwest is growing.

Daniel Warthan, Amy’s stepson and owner of the Aliante location, says they were able to move forward with their plans during the pandemic because of the loyalty from the community.

“Because of the customers we’ve been able to move into other areas of the valley and serve other people, and we’ve been confident that we know people will come,” Daniel Warthan said.

Due to the success in the Las Vegas valley, this local business will be heading out-of-state for the first time. A location will open outside of Austin, Texas in early summer.

Zhang Warthan says there is some interest from other states as well, and even overseas.

“Nothing solid at this point but we are working on it. It’s like popcorn, it’s heating up,” Zhang Warthan said.

Centennial Hills will be their ninth location in the valley, with another spot opening up near the Lifeguard Arena in Henderson.

Zhang Warthan hopes to have some of her employees take over a location, to learn how to run a business and develop new skills.