Broadway Smoke & Convenience is a store directly across the street from our office that’s been open since around the beginning of summer. This was great timing as it became a frequent stop for me and some of the others as we walked around the neighborhood in the heat. Owned jointly by Samiul and MD, this store not only sells soda and snacks, but sunglasses, milk, small meals, and other items that may be useful to daily needs for those in the area. Recently I had the opportunity to get to know Samiul and MD better and ask them about their business and themselves.
Samiul and MD share a vision for what they want in the business, including how it fits into the local area. Seeing that many people must travel quite a distance to get their daily necessities, the men picked this spot to offer a much more accessible option for those in the neighborhood as well as being open to those who many not be allowed in some of the other businesses. This perspective can be seen in the way the men treat their customers with a friendliness and generosity that is not always found in other elsewhere. “Service is my target,” Samiul says, something that both men agree on; by being kind, smiling when talking with their customers, being understanding of each person’s perspective, Samiul and MD offer a service in the form of relationship. By investing in the customers that come into the shop, they support those who have made the choice to support their business.
MD, for example, shared that he’s been taking ukulele lessons in the evenings from a man he had met in the shop. And one couple, who had to make long walks to Walmart to get milk, became daily customers after chatting with Samiul and receiving a free pair of sunglasses and a watch.
While they didn’t know each other before meeting here in Wichita, Samiul and MD have moved from Bangladesh and are attending Friends University and WSU respectively. Samiul, a full-time student and full-time father, is preparing to finish his master’s degree. As a result of their business partnership, their families have also gotten to know each other all the way in Bangladesh. A connection made here influenced connections on the other side of the world!
We are excited to have people like MD and Samiul for neighbors!