My grandparents owned a small grocery business in central Iowa—Shinn’s By-Lo Foods. The business was started by my great-grandparents and sold before I was born. What I know of it is stories gleaned from my mother and her sisters—stories of them spending time at my great-grandparents’ home while my grandparents were working, stories of food that came home from the store to be used for dinner because it was time for it to be off the shelves. These stories were often told as the family used plastic coins bearing the company name that were issued as food stamps, left over from the business, as poker chips during games of Michigan rummy.
Their entrepreneurship has become central to the American Dream narrative realized by subsequent generations of our family (myself included).
Merriam-Webster defines the American Dream as the ideal that every U.S. citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. Many people consider a part of this dream owning a business.
The February/March edition of B2B is devoted to those whose entrepreneurial spirit is propelling them forward into their version of the American Dream. I myself smiled when reading about cousins Muhib Hassan and Niamatullah Habibzai, who came to the U.S. in pursuit of the American Dream and have been able to purchase their own grocery store. Omaha boasts several great entrepreneurs in this issue. I hope you enjoy reading about all of them.
This column was printed in the February/March 2018 edition of B2B.