Success Story for:

Bahar and Rihanna Wazir of Neighborhood Food Mart

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Photo of Sue Pittman.

Mr. Bahar Wazir moved to Jackson from Atlanta in 2011 and rented Neighborhood Food Mart, a convenience store in East Jackson, an underserved area. He and his wife, Rihanna worked the store fifteen hours a day, seven days a week in order to build the volume and establish a trust within the community.

He purchased another convenience store in 2013 with the help of owner financing and paid it off in late 2015. Using this as a second source of income, Mr. Wazir has the store rented on a two-year lease.  With those funds, along with the building of the Neighborhood Food Mart profit, and the aid of owner financing, Mr. Wazir was able to negotiate the purchase of the store by making a down payment of $20,000.

The success of the purchase was made possible with the assistance of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Jackson State Community College. Mr. Wazir asked for help in guiding him through the process of developing a business plan and in providing all the necessary financial and personal information for securing a $365,000 Small Business Administration Loan. The loan provided Mr. Wazir the opportunity to pay off the balance of the store loan; to renovate non-operable gas pumps and gas plaza, and to renovate the parking lot. Unfortunately, EPA approvals, local inspections and normal construction, has delayed the opening of this new addition to the convenience store. The planned opening is the beginning of January 2017.

Mr. Wazir has done an outstanding job of building the Neighborhood Food Mart business and adding important services for the community. First, he added a U-Haul-It Trailer Rental Unit for which the business receives a commission. For over a year he had an ATM Machine on the premises on a commission basis. In late 2015 he purchased the machine which has become a good source of revenue and lottery tickets provide a steady monthly income for the store.

Mr. Wazir has done an outstanding job of controlling expenses. Every year since 2013 his net profit has increased even though there was a nominal decrease in sales. Due to the increased services being offered, 2016 is showing a marked increase in both sales and profit. The store is projected to surpass $400,000 with a net profit of 12 percent.

The growth of Neighborhood Food Mart has created additional jobs. Starting with just Mr. Wazir and his wife, they have now added two additional employees. Future plans call for the store to eventually become a 24-hour service mart, which would require additional employees.

 

Neighborhood Food Mart has become an important part of the East Jackson Community. The services it provides from accepting EBT cards to selling of food, and soon providing gas and diesel fuel in an underserved area fulfills a need. Its success illustrates how an immigrant came to Jackson with very little and worked hard to achieve the American dream.

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