By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The American Arab Chamber of Commerce inducted five new business owners into the American Arab Entrepreneur Hall of Fame March 26.
Among the inductees were Saad Abbo of U.S. Ice Corp, Zouher Abdel-Hak of N.J. Diamonds, Sam Elhaf of Royal Funiture and Gifts, The Ziyad Family of Ziyad Brothers Importing and Adnan Cheaitli of Xushi Ko.
The hall of fame recognizes Arab American business owners who have separated themselves as leaders in their entrepreneurial endeavors. They are recognized for their accomplishments in creating economic and social value.
The American Arab Chamber has a mission to build economic bridges by promoting and empowering the business community it serves on a local, national and international level.
Fay Beydoun, American Arab Chamber executive director, echoed that same message at the hall of fame ceremony.
“The entrepreneurs we honor here today are a testimony to the importance of small business, not only to our economy but also to our families, our community and to our homes,” she said.
Abbo founded U.S. Ice Corp in 1984 after being fed up with unreliable ice vendors serving his family store, so they decided to start their own company.
U.S. Ice Corp went from producing five tons of ice per day for 50 customers to producing 400 tons of ice per day for more than 2,000 customers.
“I want to thank the board for this award,” Abbo said. “It’s a great, great honor.”
Abdel-Hak, N.J. Diamonds owner, has been in business for more than 19 years delivering his passion for jewelry to his customers. N.J. Diamonds jewerly stems from Abdel-Hak’s electrical engineering background and scientific commitment.
“I really want to accept this award, not on my behalf, but on behalf on all the customers who came to our store and all the people who helped us build this business,” he said.
Elhaf, owner of Royal Furniture and Gifts, provides more than just furniture to his customers, he also provides an interior and home design service.
The business has three locations in southeast Michigan providing customers with luxury and antique products.
“Royal Furniture focuses on quality and outstanding customer service, this is what makes us a successful business,” Elhaf said. “We owe it all to our loyal customers and hard working employees.”
The Ziyad brothers Nemer, Ibrahim, Nassem, Nazmy and Nezar of Ziyad Brothers Importing pride themselves on importing and distributing over 900 Middle Eastern food products to 48 states and six countries.
“I would like to accept this award on behalf of my late father that started this whole American Dream by coming to this country with $125 in his pocket and building what we have today,” Ziyad said.
The last inductee, Cheaitli also was named the 2015 emerging entrepreneur for his Japanese and Asian Fusion restaurant, Xushi Ko.
Founded in 2012, Xushi Ko fills the need of a halal sushi restaurant in an area with a large Muslim population.
“It’s not about what you have or what you accomplish, it’s about what you’ve given back.,” Cheaitli said. “When you focus your business on the mission, not just making money, prosperity will find you.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)