ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota man who immigrated to the U.S. and built a successful food business was named Monday as the National Small Business Person of the Year.
The honor for Abdirahman Kahin, CEO and owner of Afro Deli & Grill in St. Paul, was announced at an awards ceremony in Washington D.C. marking National Small Business Week.
Kahin, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1996, opened Afro Deli & Grill in 2014 as a fast-casual restaurant serving healthy, fresh African fusion cuisine.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the restaurant to close and change to grab-and-go products, according to a news release from the Small Business Administration.
Afro Deli & Grill now supplies eight stores in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport and 15 other stores across the Twin Cities area, and has expanded to four locations. The business also partners with Meals on Wheels and Minnesota Central Kitchen to provide home-delivered meals to vulnerable community members.
Juanny Romero, of Mothership Coffee, which operates multiple cafes and a coffee roasting business in Nevada, was named national runner-up for the award.
Douglas Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, and Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman will travel to Minneapolis on Wednesday to have a roundtable discussion with small business community leaders and present the award to Kahin.