GREENFIELD — When Bawi Peng was 12, he left Myanmar as a refugee with his family due to violence in his country, and in search of freedom and better opportunities. Fifteen years later, he now owns the Greenfield PostNet site at 1547 N. State St.
“Myanmar at that time was military-based,” Peng said. “There is no freedom there. They killed innocent people, they killed Christians.
After being accepted into a United Nations refugee program, his family was able to come to the United States, a place Peng did not know.
“At the time, there was no technology. I didn’t know what America was,” Peng said. “I did not know that existed.”
Peng came to Indianapolis in 2007 and started school. In seventh grade at Southport Middle School in Marion County. Unlike schools in Myanmar, Bawi didn’t know he would take the bus to school instead of walking – the mode of transport he was used to.
When he graduated from high school in 2013, he skipped college because he said he had no interest in school. The plan was to have a sushi shop, but the sushi business proved difficult.
“You have to work seven days a week, and it’s very difficult to find an employee,” Peng said.
A friend of Peng owned a store similar to PostNet, and Peng had worked there for a month to understand the business. Peng learned that the Greenfield PostNet location needed a new owner from this friend.
Louise and Joe Fiano were the owners of PostNet in Greenfield from October 16, 1995 to June 30, 2021, in one of the franchise’s oldest locations. PostNet specializes in design, printing, and shipping, according to its website. When the Fianos started, there were no UPS stores in town, and they were one of the PostNet sites that started wide-format printing, Joe said.
With many of her family members as entrepreneurs, Louise said it was “in [their] blood,” to run a business. However, after 26 years of owning the PostNet in Greenfield, she said it was “time to move on”.
“You know, we’re getting old… We wanted to retire and do things,” Joe said. “You go through different life cycles and stuff like that.”
When Louise first met Peng, her first impression was how young he was.
“You know, young people know all this tech stuff,” Louise said. “And I knew that was what this company needed. Someone young who wanted to do something and grow.
With the Fianos’ ownership of PostNet in Greenfield coming to an end and Peng’s ownership barely beginning, two stories converge into one. Peng works at a small office in the back of PostNet while the Fianos are at home with a front garden that Louise calls “[her] therapy.”
“If you want to go into business and you never do it in your life, you’ll always wonder at the end of your life… what if I had done that? Jo said. “People can do so much more than they take credit for.”