A Family’s Journey To Reach Their American Dream
New Winners Of The Business Of The Year Award
Just 11 months after opening their very own Grocery Outlet, this brother and sister team won the La Habra’s Business of the Year Award.
The recognition was part of La Habra Chamber of Commerce’s 2018/2019 Awards. This award proves how passionate the brother and sister team are in running a Grocery Outlet while being fully involved in their community.
The Siblings’ Humble Beginnings
Coming from Chad, Africa, the siblings went through a long journey to have the life that they once dreamed of.
Haoua’s first struggle was settling in a foreign country with limited English. She recalls, “I just turned 21 and didn’t speak any English. I only knew less than 10 words.”
Despite the challenges and her fears, Haoua took a leap of faith and flew to the USA in 2004 to pursue her studies as an exchange student. “I came here and stayed with a family I never met. She was a single mom and she treated me like her own daughter. Unfortunately, she passed away due to cancer, but she was my Mom from the United States,” said Haoua.
Djibia followed his sister in 2007 with the same intent of studying in the USA and learning English. Though language was their first hurdle, the siblings said that it wasn’t that difficult for them to learn English. In fact, both of them now speak five languages which shows how dedicated they are to learning new things.
A Family That Lost Everything Until They Found Grocery Outlet
When asked about what motivated them to work as hard as they do, Haoua shares, “In most countries in Africa, parents prefer to send you over to the US to pursue your studies. When we got here, there was a war back home. Our parents lost everything they have because of the civil war.”
To support their family in Chad, the siblings started working for a Grocery Outlet store where they frequently did their shopping. Haoua started to work as a cashier with Djibia as a security guard at the same store.
The siblings’ career eventually grew and they both became managers of the Grocery Outlet store.
“Luckily, my mom is here right now and my sister is also here with us. Dad goes back and forth and is ready to move here too. That was one of the things that happen in life that makes you think of doing better, to have a better life for you and your family.”
Chasing After Their American Dream
For the brother and sister team, the decision to open their own Grocery Outlet came when they reached the top of the ranks. The siblings’ years of experience in the GO store equipped them with the knowledge and expertise in handling the business.
Djibia says, “We’re the ones who are taking care of the store, managing it for 2-3 weeks. So if we can do that, why not get our own store and do it all by ourselves?”
And that was exactly what the sibling duo did. With the help of the GO family, they were able to pursue their goal of becoming Independent Operators. They were given an opportunity to run their own business and they grabbed it. Now, they are an award-winning grocery store.
Giving Back To The Community
Even though their store is less than a year old, Djibia and Haoua have already made a difference in their community in La Habra.
Haoua says that one of the greatest things that happened to them when they became Independent Operators was their ability to help out the community. “GO is the only company that shares the same values we have back home. There were only five of us in the house and we cooked for almost 30 people. Our house has always been open to any member of the family.”
“Having this chance where you get to help your community and the people around you is something we are really passionate about”, said Haoua.
Their GO store has already launched several initiatives that give back to the community. To name a few, they have donated 10% of their sales to the Meals on Wheels, which is a non-profit organization that brings meals to people who don’t have access to food.
They have also supported the La Habra Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Night and donated to their charity which helps students who need financial aid for their studies.
During the holidays, they have launched an Adopt a Grandparent program where they have provided gift baskets for the elderly. In addition, on Thanksgiving, they initiated a program called Fill A Pantry where people can nominate a family who needs a Thanksgiving meal. The chosen family was provided with food that valued $200 and a GO gift certificate worth $100.
Djibia says, “We are really involved in the community. We never say no to anyone that comes to us. Whether its a little donation or a big donation, we are there to help everyone.”
Working With Grocery Outlet Makes Paying It Forward Possible
The siblings recognize the importance of their involvement with Grocery Outlet. As a way to give back to their Grocery Outlet family, they have also been helping to train new Independent Operators In Training.
For them, helping new Operators rise up is just the right thing to do.
Djibia added, “We came from a long way. All the help we got, that’s what brought us here right now. We are thankful to everybody who helped us on the way.”
“The entire GO family helped us live our American dream.”
Now It’s Your Turn
Working as a store manager, maybe you feel that there is a limit on how high you can climb. Maybe you are already at the top and there is no more room to grow. Just as this sibling team did, you can start your own store and take advantage of your management experience. You can reap all the rewards of your hard work.
Independent Operators have total control over their stores, from choosing the merchandise to implementing creative concepts.
As an Independent Operator, you have the freedom to plot your career and grow as a business owner, while leveraging your knowledge and expertise in retail.
Find out more about this amazing opportunity and let us help you maximize your business potential.