DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Haitham Iman, owner of Carmen’s Deli & Bistro has poured his heart and spirit into his establishment for the last six years.
Iman says he loves being a small business owner and being a part of the hospitality industry.
“The minute I touch the food its like magic,” he said. “It’s in my blood, it’s in my veins, you cannot change that.”
For years the deli and bistro located on Main Street in downtown Dayton and in walking distance of several office spaces was a busy spot during breakfast and lunchtime. However, because employees are working from home due to the pandemic, Iman sees much fewer customers on a daily basis.
Iman says he feels he’s wasting his time and the time of his employees by staying open. They’ve adjusted by shortening hours, and changing menus, but still times are hard.
In an act of support, a Facebook group was created by some regular customers of Carmen’s. The event had an invitation list of more than 300 people and encouraged everyone to come make a purchase at the deli during its open hours on Wednesday.
“I don’t necessarily know if [this] will save him,” said Sean Mitchell one of the event organizers and a regular customer. “But, if we can show [him] a little bit of the love that [he’s] shown us then that’s what matters.”
Customers say they are drawn not just by a delicious meal, but the superior service they receive from Carmen’s employees and Iman.
“It makes me feel appreciated. That’s what I always say about the community in downtown Dayton, they are very supportive and you won’t find this community anywhere else,” said Iman.