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Chaldean Entrepreneur Snacks His Way to Success
By David Najor :: 48173 Views :: Article Rating :: Business & Finance

H. Michael Robin arrived in Detroit from his native Baghdad, Iraq, in 1968. The Chaldean immigrant found a job loading potato chips onto delivery trucks.

That modest beginning led to Grandpapa’s, a snack food manufacturer that is part of Robin’s $15-million-a-year snack food business. From a newly renovated 140,000-square-foot factory at 6500 Davison in Detroit, Robin ships pallets stacked with cheese curls, cheese balls, and other snacks around the globe.

Locally, Grandpapa’s may be best known for its line of pork rinds, although that particular snack food is just the tip of a business operation that ships 99% of its production overseas.

From loading trucks to owning a far-flung export business was a journey of hard work and luck and seizing every opportunity.
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Building a Well-Run Chaldean Family Business
By David Najor :: 51103 Views :: Article Rating :: Business & Finance

 

The biggest challenge for Chaldean family businesses is being isolated from the outside world says small business consultant Norman Haisha.  Chaldean’s work long hours, weekends, and holidays.   The incredibly long work schedule is a huge sacrifice.  Another is the boundary issue.  Chaldean business leaders are often forced to look at all family and business challenges as being intertwined.  So they’re making business decisions based on family issues and vice versa.Great Chaldean family businesses share certain traits: loyalty among the team, vigilance and competitiveness in their fields.

Those that pass successfully from one generation to the next have a sense of cohesion because, deep down, Chaldean family members really do care about each other and they can get through the hard times. They’ve found ways to manage conflict—not always resolve it, but manage it. They’ve also figured out ways to make decisions when there are differences of opinion. Yet, real pitfalls lurk.

The payoff for family businesses that can make it, though, can be great. “When a family business works well, you can’t beat it,” says Haisha. Family businesses “pull together for the right reasons and it’s not just for profit sake. Profit is not the purpose, but only one of many ways to stay alive and stay fulfilled.  That type of thinking means it’s for the good of the family, good for the employees, it’s good for the community, and it’s long-term. It’s really hard to compete against them. You think about a business that is saying: I’m going to sacrifice so much for my family, my employees, and my community.”

So how can Chaldean family businesses avoid the pitfalls? Here are some keys:
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The Master Behind Lights and Music Mixes
By Mary Esho :: 112444 Views :: Article Rating :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Business & Finance

Michigan, USA - One of the best DJ artists, David Boji, 28, has helped amplify the nightlife scene for metro Detroiters.  “If you are ever in a mood for a good party, the nightlife scene in Detroit is something to brag about because of him,” says Janel Ashtari  from Warren.   “He really knows how to make a party happen.  He is super talented and an incredible promoter."

Along with his many accomplishments, in 2008, Boji opened up for hip-hop star Flo Rida at Acapulco, Mexico, in front of over 4,500 screaming spring breakers.   Later that year, he opened up for a sold-out Detroit stadium of over 21,000 fans for “The New Kids On The Block Reunion Tour.” 

He later joined Channel 955’s Bomb Squad, an exclusive 5-member group of top mix-show DJs that infiltrate the air waves of Metro Detroit. It is at Channel 955 that David B developed his loyal following as he launched his “Ministry of House” movement.  Over the following 4 years, he went on to open up for myriad A-List artists, including Pitbull, David Guetta, Steve Angello of The Swedish House Mafia, Nadia Ali, Black Eyed Peas, Jason DeRulo, Iyaz, Taio Cruz, Big Boi of Outkast, Fabolous, & Monica.

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On the Job: He's Living the American Dream
By Guest Reporter :: 81970 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Business & Finance
   Doug Williams of the santee.patch.com 

 

For Lee Wazzi, co-owner of Santee's Lake's Market Liquor & Deli, the journey from Iraq to the United States opened doors of peace and opportunity for which he will always be grateful.

  As he sits at a small desk in a back room at Lake’s Market Liquor & Deli, Lee Wazzi talks about his long life’s journey and counts himself a lucky man.

At age 42, he’s exactly where he wants to be.

A native of Iraq, Wazzi and his family and close friends dreamed of coming to America so they could live in peace, work hard and have a chance at success.

While many Americans don’t take time to count their blessings, Wazzi does every day. To him, the American dream isn’t just a theoretical concept. It’s his life.
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Why Chaldean Businesses Fail
By Paul Gori :: 78574 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Business & Finance
One of the least understood aspects of entrepreneurship is why small businesses fail, and there’s a simple reason for the confusion: Most of the evidence comes from the entrepreneurs themselves.

We interviewed a number of Chaldean small business entrepreneurs about what they believe is the cause of business failures. 

Some of the Chaldeans we interviewed had business failures themselves; others shared what challenges close friends and family members faced that caused their business to fail.  

The interviewed included a questionnaire, discussion, and follow-up questions in order to gain a better understanding of the challenges.  We sampled 138 Chaldean businesses in California, 43 in Chicago, and 206 in Michigan.  We grouped the common causes in the list below, which does not have any specific order.
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Chaldean Grocers Troubled by Democrat Pelosi’s Push for Mail Order Shipments of Alcohol
By David Najor :: 80821 Views :: Article Rating :: Business & Finance, Government & Society

Washington DC, USA - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is championing her home state’s wine industry in an effort to defeat bill that would give states greater control over how Alcohol is distributed.   The move is causing a battle on Capitol Hill as California winemakers are pitted against beer wholesalers and distributors.   Pelosi and her wine caucus is working to stop the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness and by doing so, open the flood gate of out-of-state alcohol distribution via direct shipment.

Direct shipments of alcohol cut out the distributors and middlemen, allowing wineries to sell straight to customers who may have visited in person or browsed via the Internet.  Wineries, in particular, have considered direct shipping across state lines a retail boon.

Many states enacted laws that either prohibited direct shipping or severely restricted it.  “This legislation is urgently needed to help states defend against lawsuits that are motivated by economic gain … and are not in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of the public,” Nida Samona, the chairwoman of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, told a House panel recently.  (
To read Nida Samona's Testimony before the House CLICK HERE.)

The fight pits One hundred and seven lawmakers......

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Chaldean Hot Spots Get Too Hot
By Sam Yousif :: 86413 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Business & Finance

Michigan, USA - The Chaldean community in Michigan were stunned to learn two of their favorite shopping locations went up in flames yesterday afternoon.  Both Kashat International Market and New Sahara Restaurant were completely destroyed by fire. 

Firefighters from Oak Park, Ferndale, and Beverly Hills spent all day Wednesday trying to get  the five alarm fire under control.  Early reports indicate the fire started in an international market and spread to the New Sahara Restaurant next door.

Both businesses have been in the community for decades.  “Almost every Chaldean family has eaten or shopped at those places,” says Alex Jabarow of Novi.  “Sahara would often stay open until two or four in the morning as Chaldeans would close their business and visit for a late night meal.  Those places have lots of history and meant a lot to many Chaldeans.  Especially those who fell in love with their house sauce.”

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Chaldean Business Leaders Continue To Help Michigan Rebuild
By Paul Gori :: 48536 Views :: Article Rating :: Business & Finance

Michigan, USA – "Chaldean business owners prove they believe in Michigan.  They put their money where their mouth is," says Ashley Hanna of the Chaldean Education and Career Center.  "Despite the high business taxes and anti-business environment in the state, Chaldeans continue to reinvest, improve, and open new businesses in their local communities."

On Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor, Mark Yaldo has committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the community by becoming the new owner of an abandoned and blighted building on 3555 Washtenaw.  Yaldo has been spending money all year working with contractors to open an improved and upgraded Marathon brand fuel station and convenient store.   

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Where Did all The Small-Business Loans Go?
By Paul Gori :: 99722 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Business & Finance

Chaldean business owners know if you want to expand your business, you're going to need some cash.  Money still isn't falling off trees for small businesses, and the lending process can be a challenge to navigate. As a professional loan officer for a large banking company Haisha helps small businesses prepare loan request packages.  He also serves as the corresponding secretary of a private Chaldean investment group in Michigan.  The Chaldean group pulls their financial resources, investor connections, and business expertise together to help fund new Chaldean business ventures. 

Banks have tightened their lending policies, and it is more difficult for a Chaldean entrepreneur to get financing.  “The difficulty in getting a loan from a bank is causing many Chaldean small-business owners to have to get creative with finding sources of capital.”  Haisha adds, “Many Chaldeans have great businesses ideas, but do not have the money, business contacts, or expertise to make a go of it.  Chaldean entrepreneur candidates submit loan or investment requests to our members and we decide as a group, which we will fund.”

The Chaldean venture capitalists group is mostly composed of successful business entrepreneurs, professionals with funds to invest, and businesses able to provide services to new businesses.  The group tend to invest or loan money to Chaldeans who have developed a thorough plan for the success of their business.  Loans are provided with untraditional collateral requirements and terms. 

Chaldeans have received hundreds of thousands in loans by offering gold for collateral, property in Iraq, or agree to equity shares of their business says Haisha.  “Our members each buy shares into a proposed business opportunity.  Shares prices range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands, depending on the amount needed by the business selected to be funded.”

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Chaldean Hardware Store Owner Committed to Detroit Neighborhood
By Paul Gori :: 48842 Views :: Article Rating :: Business & Finance

Michigan, USA – Back in September 2008 Chaldean businessman Sal Yono received devastating news that his Pro-Hardware business on Davison near Dexter was burnt to the ground.  The fire completely destroyed the 60 year old hardware store and left a dilapidated neighborhood in even worse condition. 

Many of the Detroit residents relied on the business to purchase needed hardware supplies.  “We don’t have much in the city and the hardware store was the only place we could get to fix up something in the house,” says customer Gary Harris. “He was an angel.  If we didn’t have the money to buy some needed tools he would loan the tools to us for free.  We were all upset when we heard the store burned to the ground.”

People in the neighborhood were shocked to learn Yono would rebuild as more and more residents and businesses were fleeing the city.  Residents cheered when the hardware store re-opened with a million dollar investment by the owner.  Many of the people who work at the hardware store can walk to work. The $1 million investment raised more than a few eyebrows in an area where abandoned and boarded up homes dot the landscape.

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St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.