Minnesota’s Twin Cities are home to one of the nation’s largest Somali-American populations, so it’s no surprise that the region is well-known for its authentic ethnic cuisine. In one part of the city – Saint Paul’s east side – three siblings are establishing the community’s first African market and full-service deli.
The Ali siblings – Abdiwali, Ikram and Mohamed – had a business plan, some startup capital and a perfect location on a high-traffic corner in the heart of the neighborhood, but their limited credit histories made getting small business financing a challenge.
The Ali family turned to the African Development Center of Minnesota (ADC), a longtime advocacy resource for the Twin Cities’ sizable African immigrant community. In turn, ADC recommended CRF as a possible source for financing.
Thanks to a combination of loans, forgivable loans and grants from the City of St. Paul and other funding sources, and an SBA 7(a) loan from CRF, Karibu Grocery and Deli opened for business in summer 2018.
The new business will create eight full-time-equivalent jobs in 2018 and will employ as many as six members of the Ali family, in keeping with the East African tradition of multi-generational cooperation. The restaurant will feature spacious outdoor seating, grab-and-go African deli options, specialty groceries, halal meats and Africa-inspired décor.
Karibu is well-positioned for success, and the Ali family’s commitment and determination will help ensure the restaurant is a beacon for neighborhood pride and community development for years to come.