"Before this shop, I never owned a business in my life. I was looking for any kind of business to support my kids. A friend here told me about an opportunity to buy this shop for $30,000, so I did. That was pretty much all of my money."
"I came to America from Yemen, where I was a famous musician."
"Back home, I never worried about money. I never worried about anything. But I came to America, because I believe it’s a better place to build a future for my kids. My first and second children are both here with me, but my three younger children and my wife are still in Yemen, waiting for their asylum to be granted."
"It was very hard for me here at first. I didn’t speak any English. When a customer asked me for something I’d apologize for not speaking English and then I’d tell them to point to what they wanted. But the most difficult thing for me was learning the laws as a business owner."
"I remember one day, when I was here for a year and a half, two guys came in—they worked for the city. They asked me for all of the invoices for all of the tobacco products. Before this, I didn’t realize that it was illegal to buy and sell tobacco products from other states. They took all of the shisha and cigars from my shop.
Everyday since then it's better and better…thank God.
I think that when God made me, he made me to play the guitar, not to run a business (laughs)."