Liberian Tries to Save His Store

Mohammed Kamara in good spirits at his store. (Photo by Emily Rostek via BK Reader)

In Crown Heights, Liberian immigrant Mohammed Kamara has been operating a hardware store for more than 20 years. Now, it appears, the building is being sold out from under him, reports Emily Rostek of BK Reader. “In late 2016,” she writes, “the executor put the building up for sale without the knowledge of Kamara.” The small business owner has been renting the space for his store.

“This is the one and only dream I had,” Kamara [said]. “I went to college for a year and a half, but then the children came. I had to – I wanted to – dedicate myself to their upbringing.” As Kamara spoke, Oprah reruns played on the TV in the background, accompanied by West African tunes.

Kamara, who came from Monrovia, Liberia, in 1982, exemplifies kindness. As Oprah comforts her guests, he does the same. Greeting every customer with a “Happy New Year,” he usually says goodbye with a toothy grin and a “God Bless You.”

“Your customers are like your partners. They help you to withstand a business and help you support your family, so when they come I cherish them,” Kamara said.

His six children, says Kamara “grew up on these counters.” BK Reader writes that there is one option for the small business owner:

After about a year of legal disputes to try and keep his business, Kamara was offered the rights to the selling contracts – but only if he is able to pay taxation fines of $23,400 associated with the property by his upcoming court date on February 13.

Kamara doesn’t have the money, but independent filmmaker Suzi Sadler and Kamara have created a GoFundMe page to help raise it. A video at the site indicates that Kamara has investors and a financial plan to purchase the property, but needs help in covering the tax arrears.

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