Uncle Musa’s Grocery Store
Owner: Musa Barry
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Business: Grocery Store
Purpose of Loan: Equipment, Inventory, and Business Improvements
As a prominent voice in Philadelphia’s Woodland business district, Musa Barry leads by example. Musa came to the United States from Liberia in the early 2000’s to secure a more peaceful life. He worked several odd jobs before he decided to open his own business. In 2013, he opened Uncle Musa’s Grocery Store in the Woodland Avenue section of southeast Philadelphia. This part of the city is populated primarily by African immigrants and Musa’s selection of fresh food, medicine, beauty products and shipping containers to Africa quickly became popular.
Despite the store’s success, Musa quickly realized that managing and growing a business in America is very different compared to Liberia. The “American Way” of doing business is challenging for anyone to learn and understand, let alone an immigrant entrepreneur. After being denied financing from a traditional bank, he was referred to Community First Fund/FINANTA and joined the Affinity Group Lending (AGL) program. Through this program, Musa received hours of one-on-one technical assistance and secured an AGL loan to help with inventory and working capital. We have worked closely with Musa ever since, providing him with five more loans to purchase equipment, inventory, and overall business improvements.
Our financial and technical assistance helped spark Musa’s entrepreneurial spirit. He opened a new clothing and apparel store and another African grocery store in Upper Darby, employing 12 people across all three businesses. With his experience, he often assists other African immigrant entrepreneurs and was named the president of the Woodland Avenue Business Association. While he first struggled to learn the “American Way”, he is now thriving and leading his business community the “Musa Barry Way”.