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Jun 1, 2015 6:22 EST

Casbah Market: The only “one stop shop” Halal market in the Tenderloin where residents can access all the ingredients to make a healthy and complete meal

iCrowdNewswire - Jun 1, 2015

Casbah Market

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Personal Story

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.

Business Description

Casbah Market is the only “one stop shop” Halal market in the Tenderloin where residents can access all the ingredients to make a healthy and complete meal. For example, my store has a butcher shop where people can purchase Halal meat. Also, I offer everything that goes with the meat i.e.: onions, cilantro, tomatoes. This model of a “complete meal” helps me sell the produce.

I am proud that Casbah is clean, we have a Halal butcher, our pastries are fresh and locally purchased, and I am able to offer healthy food to all the people in the neighborhood. The goals that I have for my business in the future include 1) expanding the size of the market, 2) setting up a produce delivery service throughout the neighborhood; 3) selling organic ice cream; and 4) having outdoor seating for my patrons and the neighborhood residents and 5) partnering with other grocers to develop economies of scale.

Right now my biggest challenge is stocking organic non-packaged and prepackaged foods, which can be expensive. I need to find efficiencies in my operating costs in order to direct my resources to purchasing these products.

What is the purpose of this loan?

I need to lower my overhead costs so that I can spend more money on quality, organic products. I also want to add ice cream sales to diversify my income. Right now the equipment I use is outdated and not energy efficient. Because of this my electricity bills are close to $2,000/month. With this loan I can replace my meat case ($3,500) and freezer ($5,000) and purchase an ice cream dripping case ($1,500). In addition, having this energy efficient equipment will cut my electricity bills in half. This loan will take some of the pressures that I feel being a business owner. It will allow me to think beyond the day to day.

 

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