ST. GEORGE – Working hard, not giving up, staying positive and viewing good friends and good customers as blessings from God – that is what Shazad Sheikh believes makes a successful business owner.
Sheikh smiled as he stood in the new location of the Bombay Cafe, an Indian food restaurant located at 969 N. 3050 East in St George, just north of Sportsman’s Warehouse.
Prior to opening at the new location earlier this month, the Bombay Cafe was one of several businesses forced to relocate due to the business’s former home – the Sunburst shopping center on 700 East in St. George – being sold off and scheduled for demolition to make way for new housing at Dixie State University.
For three months they looked for a new location, Sheikh said, and nothing panned out. What was available was proving to be cost prohibitive. Hints of the frustration Sheikh felt at the time came out as he spoke recently with St. George News.
“We didn’t have enough money to spend, to build again from scratch,” he said, with an accent borne of his Pakistani origins. “We struggled, we looked everywhere. Everywhere there’s a lot of money involved.”
Despite their best efforts, it got to the point that Sheikh said his wife suggested it might be time they quit the restaurant.
That is when their luck changed. Well, Sheikh might say it was luck if he believed in the concept. Rather, he credits God with what happened next.
“He provided us two things: not one business, (but) two businesses. Believe it or not, the very next day I got Krave Yogurt and this place. Someone brought a key to my old restaurant and handed it over to me (and said) if you like that spot, let us know.”
“Well, I liked that, so I started businesses here,” Sheikh said with a short laugh and a grin as he gestured at the scene around him that includes booths, tables and chairs awaiting hungry patrons.
Sheikh compared the individual who offered him the key to an angel sent from God as an answer to the hard work and perseverance he and his family had put into the business.
“If you do a job full of patience, with a heart and warmth and (not leaving anything to chance), my belief is God provides you help.”
Sheikh, who is Muslim, said the Quran teaches that those who work hard will get help from the Almighty and reap the benefits of their labor.
“God provided us help and we are doing OK,” he said.
Sheikh and his family came to the United States in 2000 to reunite with other family members who owned and operated a chain of Sizzler restaurants. Unfortunately that fell apart when the Great Recession occurred.
The family lost a lot of money in 2008, and Sheikh relocated to St. George, where he became an adjunct art professor at Dixie State University. Sheikh holds a Master of Fine Arts and is trained in a style of painting called “batik,” as well as oil painting and sculptures.
Not completely able to support his family on a teacher’s salary, Sheikh said he and his wife began to prepare and sell food and other items at the farmers market held at Ancestor Square. They would eventually go on to open the first iteration of the Bombay Cafe at the Promenade at Red Cliffs shopping center.
A grand reopening for Krave Yogurt under Sheikh’s ownership occurred in June, with the opening of the new Bombay Cafe at the 3050 East location taking place in August. The Sheikhs also have a Bombay Café in Cedar City.
“This is my personal, strong belief that if you work hard for what you have, you can’t even imagine where the help will be coming from,” Sheikh said. “When you decide you need to do something, God will provide you with help, even more than you can imagine.”
About the Labor Day job series
Labor Day invites us to give “tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country,” according to the Labor Department.
St. George News brings this series of stories on Labor Day to recognize workers whose contributions may go unnoticed, who may be less visible to the general public than others and to unpack some of what goes into everyday jobs performed by everyday people in our communities.
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