Wednesday, April 16, 2014
A TRIBUTE TO BIGHAMIAN "Benjamin" MOSTAFA: A MAN WHO INVESTED IN LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES by Homero Villarreal
Bighamian “Benjamin” Mostafa, 59, passed away on April 14, 2014 at his corner store – Tim’s Market. He was born in Iran and during his teen years immigrated to the United States to attend Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M-Kingsville), and went on to complete a degree in chemical/petroleum engineering. He fell in love with America and realized it was a wide open horizon of opportunities.
He moved to Corpus Christi, Texas specifically to apply his entrepreneurial spirit. Like a meteorite he lit up the heavens with his generosity and munificent business practices. He became both a wonderful role model and reference person for the community. He also encouraged other immigrants to invest and settle in Corpus Christi and the region: “This is truly a land of opportunity” was his sales pitch. He founded businesses that addressed the needs of the working class community: Tim’s Market (1600 Ayers), the defunct Hamid’s Grocery (in the Northside), Amerikas Auto Sales, and involved himself in the real estate market. He found create ways to keep the money circulating in the communities he served and offered priceless advice. He identified a void in the market that traditional banks and other lending institutions did not address adequately. He cashed payroll checks and provided loans for hard working families. He provided many creative worthwhile occupational projects and even odd jobs to residents from carpentry to masonry to painting to keep the industrious spirit alive. He reinforced the struggle for survival in those that orbited his immediate world. It was chiseled in his belief system to give back a percentage of his profits to those in need. . . Eventually he became loved by a multitude. He became the apex of success as a small businessman among the working class and low-income Hispanic and Black communities. . . He engaged in benevolent endeavors: he donated the “Old Harlem Theatre” in the Northside (years ago) to the Coleman Foundation and sponsored many sports teams and aided many struggling families to find a normative correct way to survival amid the challenges of a tough economy. He was awarded a plethora of awards by non-profit and benevolent organizations.
April 14 seemed like a normal day; but it became one that was far from that: a little after 1:00 p.m. he was tragically targeted by deviant forces of desperation, a desperation which he saw daily in declining sectors of the community: yet he had faith it could be ameliorated. When his passing was announced by the media. Many in the surrounding community seemed to have heard a bell toll. They tipped off their caps; collective prayers were recited; a rush of residents circled the site. A reoccurring theme was -- Bighamian “Benjamin” Mostafa could be as soft as a misty cloud due to his “big” heart yet as strong as steel when it came to his faith that even the most dilapidated community could prosper if given time and the proper caring. History will note his contributions as a trailblazer; his memory is a testament to the fact that “hard work always pays off!”.