I was born and raised in Yemen. I grew up with five siblings. Our father worked in sales. Following in his footsteps, I went to Marb University and studied marketing. I was unable to finish my studies but was determined to continue on my path to delivering quality products to people. I worked as a sales rep selling custom and locally made jewelry boxes. Shortly after, I moved to Saudi Arabia for more opportunities and moved even further for the same to the United States in 2000.
I started taking classes at the Berkeley Adult School to strengthen my English and Computer Skills. With limited English, I landed my first job at High Prestige, a Men’s Suits shop at Hilltop Mall in Richmond, CA.
Starting in 2005, with a business partner, I opened an urban fashion store in Vallejo and within the course of three years, I expanded to Richmond, Oakland, and Berkeley. Unfortunately, due to the market crash, my partner and I had to close down the stores. I lost a lot. From this experience I learned the importance of diversification, location, and sustainable overhead cost.
Prior to opening Casbah Market, I worked as a taxi and Uber driver. When I drove through the Tenderloin I noticed that I gave people rides to get basic necessities like fresh food, which should be readily available in the neighborhood. I saw that the neighborhood needed a store that offered fresh produce, good meat, and a wide selection of grocery goods. I knew that a store like this would thrive in the Tenderloin because of its dense population, affordable rent, and desperate need for good food and grocery options.