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'They are my family now', says one local restaurant owner after receiving immense community support

Posted at 11:29 AM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 12:29:36-04

BRYAN, TEXAS  — One business owner in Bryan is working overboard to save his beloved Persian cuisine restaurant.

A Bryan business owner published a telling Facebook post-Wednesday. The post still carries the weight of changing the trajectory of Zand's forever. The owner is facing eviction if he doesn't come up with back rent of over $9,000 by Monday.

"When I got the letters... I said... OK, I am done... I thought 'my business is gone," Ali Farasat says as he remembers the notice.

Farasat says during the on-set of COVID-19 he was closed for almost 3 months and fell behind on rent and when he was open, he says, sales didn't come close to making ends meet.

"One day.. I remember... all day I sold just one little thing.. It was $10, that was it. The costs of my food costs more than sales," Farasat said.

When his dining room was closed for months due to the pandemic, it was this drive-thru helping him get by and now since the post, it's his drive-thru once again helping keep his business alive.

Remembering a time when sales were at their lowest, he's ever seen in his 9 years of owning the shop, Farasat can't put into words what he's witnessed since looking to the community for help over the last few days.

"It's so busy... Thank God. My sales raised over $1,000. I am trying to come up with it that money. I hope I can stay. I am trying my best. Thank you so much everybody for supporting me... I am almost there," he added.

Hoping for one last push before possibly shutting up the shop, some customers stopped by their favorite spot as they always do. Some came for the very first time. One hoped to make a difference in a special way and had a specific reason for supporting it.

"This is the first time we've been to Zand's. My son and his fiancé are getting married next weekend and they wanted Zand's to cater their dinner Friday night... So we have sort of have a vested interest in making sure that their business stays afloat," Tim Smith, a College Station resident, and customer of the shop Saturday said.

Overwhelmed with all the love and support BCS could ever provide, Farasat says these supporters are more than just mere customers now.

"I didn't know I had that big of a family.. They are... To be honest... They are my family now. I love them. They supported me big, big, big time. They surprised me big time," Farasat added.

"I would like to think this is going to go well beyond what they wanted and hopefully it will allow them to stay in business for a long time to come," Smith added.

Normally closed on Sundays, Farasat says he planned on using Sunday to help one last time. If he makes his goal by the end of closing Saturday, his restaurant is saved and he's not opening tomorrow.

"I just want to say thank you to everyone for supporting me..." Farasat added.

The support didn't just stop with customers flooding the drive-thru. Businesses hopped on board too. Seeing the fight to keep a local business alive, others have pledged to help as well.

According to Facebook, Howdy's pizza in College Station says they are donating 5% of their weekend sales to help and Gr8 Laundry also in College Station says they are pitching in with 10% of their sales too.