This could be the start of something big.
In February, Alamgir Mia opened AJ Tobacco & Mini Mart at 1037 W. Glebe Road in the former Look Sharp Cleaners. It’s the first business for the Bangladeshi-born owner, who signed a 10-year lease and hopes to open more convenience stores in the future.
“The landlord gave me a very good deal,” Mia told ALXnow. “The plan is to open more, but first I need to hit my targets with this store.”
The mini-mart carries standard convenience store fare at slightly lower prices than the 7-Eleven next door. The store also sells a wide assortment of tobacco, hookah and vape products.
“You can find most of what you want cheaper than 7-Eleven,” Mia said. “Like a 20-ounce Coke will be 50 cents cheaper here. I can do that because this is my own company, and I can sell products for less.”
Married with two kids, Mia moved to the U.S. 16 years ago. He previously worked as a driver for Amazon, the U.S. Postal Service and Uber, in addition to 10 years working in customer service for United Airlines at Washington Dulles International Airport.
“I gained weight as an Uber driver” Mia said. “I picked up and dropped off more than 40,000 rides, and my stomach used to be flat. You do a lot of sitting and eating fast food with that job. Now I need to work that off.”
Mia’s move coincided with the March reopening of the West Glebe Road bridge, which borders Arlington. The bridge was closed for nearly two years, and all the establishments next to it — Pizza Hut, two Liberty gas stations and a 7-Eleven — saw declines in business.
“All of my jobs have been in customer service,” Mia said. “From USPS to Amazon and Uber driving, you need to be friendly with the customers and satisfy them. That’s what I’m doing with my shop.”
AJ Tobacco & Mini Mart is open every day from 10 a.m. to midnight.
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