Another happy customer fills up at the full service gas bar.
He may be only 21 and new to the village of Colborne, but already Kashif King-Anderson is making a mark.
With his friendly smile and easy manner the young entrepreneur is bringing customers back to the Colborne Eastside Variety and Gas Bar.
Kashif purchased the King St. East property from his childhood friend, Hamilton Sivathas on February 9, 2009. Since then, he admits his business "has grown hugely". The number of customers who rolled in on June 9 would attest to his claim. Everyone got the big open smile and a conversation as Kashif pumped their gas, wiped their windshields, checked their oil or passed the time of day. He makes a point of asking them how they are doing. Many of them he knows by name. Some he considers his friends.
He recalls sleeping in one morning recently and his morning regulars opened up the business, served the customers and left the cash on the counter for him when he arrived. It's that kind of store. Kashif says he wouldn't trade his morning crowd for the world
Currently he offers a small line of groceries, chips and pop, and ice cream as well as propane, fuel, the car wash and the bottle return. When he's not busy out front, he's detailing vehicles behind the shop.
Kashif plans to expand his grocery line and open up a small coffee shop in the back of the shop as soon as the renovations can be done.
His company, Wise Brothers Investments, which he owns with his 22-year-old business partner, Brandon Walker, will soon add a record production company to its list of assets.
That's a lot to chew off when you're only 21, but Kashif plans to be retired by the time he's 30.Service with a smile!
His mom, Marilyn King, works with him in the business. She says he just like his dad - a real goer. But his dad was seldom around, leaving Marilyn and her son to struggle in the city
Kashif grew up with his mom in Scarborough. They didn't have much, and for awhile, when he was 17 they were homeless. He says that will never happen again. he doesn't want to wake eup in the morning with nothing
He escaped the dangers and potential crime of the inner city through football. He earned a chance to play at a Florida university after high school. Even though it didn't pan out, he didn't come away empty. While he was there he found books by Robert Kiyosaki - Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Quadrant. Even though the university situation didn't work out he learned from the books and joined a mutual funds company in the city back in Canada.
When things weren't working out at the variety store last year, Hamilton called him and asked him to manage the business. The Sivathas family had purchased the business from Brice Cotter and Mike Voskamp but were seldom on site and didn't work to fit into the community.
The new owner is using the Cotter/Voskamp model as his guide. He knows it's successful.
Kashif understands that you need to buy locally when you have a business in the community. It's important for businesses to support each other. And he'll be living here by the end of the month too.
Managing was all right, says Kashif, but it's harder to make decisions when you have to check first with a supervisor. Working as the new manager, he knew what was wrong but couldn't convince the owners to make the necessary changes.
It's not difficult to see why this young entrepreneur is so successful - after one visit, you want to come back.
Colborne Eastside Variety is open Monday to Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. It opens an hour later on weekends and stays open late so Kashif and his mom can serve the CCH soccer-playing crowd their weekly post-game ice cream.