ELIZABETHTOWN —Mo Moustafah is no stranger to running a business in Elizabethtown, and he’s hoping his latest effort — this time operating the new Community Mart on East Broad Street — will be his most successful.
“I hope we are the busiest store in town,” Moustafah said of the location that was the old Food Plus store. “I hope that we uphold the standards. We promised people cheap prices, and I hope we keep that promise.”
Moustafah’s first venture in Elizabethtown was as the owner of Bella Roma, a Greek-Italian style restuarant that was open on East Broad Street from 2008 to 2013. But he said Bella Roma was a one-man operation and Moustafah had no partners to help him, so he had to close it down.
This time, Moustafah is going into business with a partner, his cousin Mike Algogy. Together, they have gone through the location with a fine-tooth comb to make improvements before opening.
“We went in, and we remodeled everything,” he said. “Everything is brand-new from the coolers, the walls, the ceiling and the gas pumps. Everything is updated.”
The store, which will offer gasoline, all the usual convenience-store items, lottery tickets and tobacco, will be open seven days a week from 5 a.m. to midnight — though he said the needs of the community may eventually dictate a change in hours.
Moustafah said his business philosophy is simple.
“It takes time and it takes a lot of work, but it pays off. Don’t take shortcuts,” he said.
But Moustafah’s favorite part of owning his business is “being my own boss (and) I love giving back to the community.”
“I love Bladen County,” he added. “To own a business (here) and do something positive like opening a store that serves the community, especially on this side of town, is something that makes me happy.”
Bringing this kind of business to that area of Elizabethtown is especially satisfying to Moustafah.
“This part of town needed to come back to life,” Moustafah said.
Brendaly Vega is a Bladen Journal summer intern from UNCP. She can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.