Two young entrepreneurs in Tarrant County are giving back to their community as they get a new business off the ground.
Sarah Bhimani, 23, and Zanith Khoja, 24, started dating nine years ago in high school. Now with a year out of college, they left their respective careers to tackle another big challenge.
They're breathing new life into a business Sarah's dad dreamed of years ago.
"I came from a health care background. He came from an economic background. For us, the way we were looking at it, it was my dad's business. And for both of us, family is super important, and that has been his dream, to have an established restaurant," Bhimani explained.
The couple started talking about the idea last April as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in North Texas. Even with that obstacle, they got certificates and licenses and opened Sam's Grill and Bar in far south Fort Worth in June.
"So far, it's going. It's going," Bhimani said. "It was really scary in the beginning but we're used to everything," Kjoha added.
"We didn't know that we would get so much encouragement and love and support from members of the community, the people who live around here," Bhimani said.
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Bhimani says the proof of the community support is a donation drive over the holidays. Staff and customers pulled together to collect more than $350 dollars in cash and more than 4,000 items for Salvation Army programs that help women get back on their feet.
"When she came up with this idea, I was like, 'Okay. Let's do it. Why not?' The end results we got were amazing," Khoja said. "It just blew our mind. We had three cars go (to drop off donations), and I was like, 'Wow!'"
Bhimani and Kjoha have practically grown up together. She was in the eighth grade, he was in the ninth when they started dating. They went their separate ways in college. She to Baylor University in Waco; he to the University of Texas in Austin. Now as they jump into business together, they're often asked if the partnership will become permanent.
"Everyone in the community asks us that, and I think definitely. If we can do a personal relationship while we're doing a professional relationship, then we're definitely on the right track for something in the future," Bhimani smiled.