An Erie family of Middle Eastern descent is opening a business later this weekend, and the owner said he’s living the American dream.
The young business owner said he moved from Iraq in high school and in Erie it is possible to follow your dreams.
Salah Mohammad is a Kurdish American and in 2008 he and his family moved from Iraq to Erie. Mohammad said he was in high school at the time and attended Strong Vincent. In 2012, he graduated and went on to work at several businesses throughout the county.
Now, Mohammad is opening his own business this week, a hookah bar at 33rd Street and Pine Avenue, and encourages others to stay strong.
“If you want to work and if you want to follow your dreams, it’s easy to do business. It’s easy to work and find work here in Erie. Everyone is hiring, everyone is welcome and you can find a job very easily if you really want to. If you want to follow your dream, you should never stop,” said Mohammad.
Mohammad’s cousin agreed and said Erie is a great place to follow your dreams. Muhammad
“It’s a very welcoming community. It helps many immigrants and people in need, people from war-torn countries like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and hopefully Ukraine. It’s a welcoming community and it’s a beautiful thing,” said Mohammad Ali, the business owner’s cousin.
Mohammad and his family said they hope to highlight Middle Eastern culture with their new business.
“We have a lot of diversity now in Erie. I hope it grows more and we see more businesses from the Afghan and Syrian people and every other group.”
The hookah lounge will open on Friday, December 30, at 6 p.m. Mohommad added that he is looking forward to the event.