Ezaddin “Dean” Alshami and Faizal Surti are adding to their growing local empire of neighborhood markets.
The duo is preparing to open a location of their National Gourmet Market chain in the former 48 Hours Food Store at 5091 Forest Hill Ave. The 2,800-square-foot store is adjacent to the soon-to-be redeveloped Westover Place Shopping Center.
The store is the fifth they have open or have in the works. Their first store opened about a year ago in Northside, and soon after they acquired the old Fine Foods Market in Oregon Hill and rebranded it as Mocha Gourmet Market.
In 2021, Alshami and Surti also signed on to open markets in two new mixed-use developments: The Summit in Scott’s Addition and Jackson Place at 701 N. First St. in Jackson Ward.
Now they’ve turned their attention to the Southside with the deal for 48 Hours. Alshami said they recently purchased the store’s lease for an undisclosed amount.
“The old owner wanted to give up the business, and we bought them out,” Alshami said. “It was open but we shut down the store so we can do some major renovations. We’re going to do $300,000 in renovations to bring the store back to modern styles, inside and out.”
He said the Forest Hill market will be similar in concept to his other stores, offering fresh produce, packaged foods, beer and wine.
“The overwhelming support we already have from the neighborhood and how they want to see a replica of what we have for the Northside — that encourages us to do the same,” Alshami said.
The rapid expansion of stores is all part of the business plan, Alshami said.
“When we started the first location, we saw a need for it in other locations. That’s why we set up the plan for 10 stores in three years,” he said. “This is the fifth in two years. Hopefully, we’ll get to the number in the fourth year.”
Manchester and Rocketts Landing are still on Alshami’s radar in the city, and he said he’d also like to get into Henrico County. He said he’s been working with Robert Jones of Icon Realty and Amy Broderick of Thalhimer to help find new locations.
A group of family investors is helping finance National Gourmet Market’s growth, Alshami said, noting that some of the investors help out with the stores’ operations, while others keep a lower profile.
Alshami’s also doled out some startup capital to family members recently. He’s an investor in Star Burger USA, a burger joint that his brother Mohammed opened at 5001 Government Road in the Fulton area earlier this year.
“The store was closed down. I think it used to be a fried chicken place. I thought it was a great opportunity. The area doesn’t really have a great burger spot, and now we have a lot of customers that come from Rocketts Landing,” Alshami said. “When my brother came in with the idea, it was a no-brainer.”
There may also be crossover between the Alshami brothers’ businesses.
“We’re thinking about, in maybe a year from now, in some of the bigger markets we have, infusing Star Burger into those locations,” Alshami said.