Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) Six years after he started working on his dream to open a convenience store on the south side of Fort Wayne, Moe Ghaffer is reaping the rewards of his hard work.
Ghaffer and his wife Angela put all their extra earnings into turning what used to be an old 7-11 into a modern day gas and convenience store at 4220 S. Hanna. And they did most of the work themselves.
Ghaffer said he chose the south side because of the business opportunity it presented. But he said you can’t just open a store and expect to make money. You have to invest in the community and the people of the area.
“I really believe in neighborhood stores, because that is where the people really need it,” said Ghaffer.
Over the course of 6 years, Ghaffer says he invested $1.2 million of his own money in the project. Not a single loan or grant was used to build the business. He could have put it anywhere in Fort Wayne, but says he was familiar with the inner city and felt it made good business sense. Everyday about 2000 people visit his store, and most of them walk there. Seventy percent of the foot traffic is just that; Foot traffic.
Understanding and being a part of the community is incredibly important says Moe Ghaffer. That’s why he partnered with an area church to give children coats, and has dropped the price of gas to 99 cents a gallon several times since opening the store.
On Saturday, November 12th between 3 and 7 he is planning another event. This time there will be free live music presented by local rappers, and he’ll once again drop the gas price.
Instead of charging higher prices for food like many convenience stores, Ghaffer keeps his prices in line with local supermarkets. Since many of his customers don’t have cars, he said he wants to make sure that they have access to reasonably priced food and necessities.
He also requires all his employees live within a two mile radius of the store, to insure they are familiar with and committed to the community.