Karim Fagir helped his parents, Mohamed Fagir and Iqbal Abdel-Karim, with the family business since he was in the sixth grade.
Yummy Samosas, which was just sold to another owner, has been very successful in its 15 years.
“Our faith was always kind of intertwined with the business and making sure we always did right by everybody,” said Karim Fagir, who practices Islam.
Fagir’s parents taught him to be very detail-oriented because the different flavoured samosas are hard to tell apart once they’re wrapped. If a vegetarian bit into a beef samosa, that wouldn’t be very good, he said.
“The customer was always right,” he said.
Karim Fagir explained the family would serve people who had shown up late to the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market, even if it was near or just after closing time.
He said his parents complemented each other well, comparing them to the left and right sides of the brain.
“He was naturally mostly entrepreneurial in business settings. My mom was always more of a creative person,” he said. “Prior to doing samosas, [my mother] would do Henna tattoos.”
He explained that about a year into the business his parents would consistently stay up late at night to determine the proper size of the samosa dough. They had slabs of wood precisely measured to different lengths and widths.
They used the slabs to measure the dough to find a medium for Iqbal Abdel-Karim to fold the samosas.
“I do remember my parents doing that for a very long time,” said Karim Fagir.
The business ran smoothly for the family until the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The Boyce Farmers Market closed for a long time, so the family resorted to selling samosas out of their licensed kitchen on Windsor Street.
Karim Fagir said that his parents decided they might want to take a step back from the business after spending a lot of time at home with their grandchildren.
Sara Fagir remembers working with her siblings in the market when the business first started.
“I got to see a lot of customers and I got to meet a lot of people … it got us feeling closer to the community,” she said. “I enjoyed it a lot.”
She explained that customers at Yummy Samosas were loyal. Some days, when the food stand opened in the freezing cold, people would already be waiting outside to order samosas.
“We appreciated that so much,” said Sara Fagir. “It was part of the reason we did it for so long.”
Karim Fagir said that his parents, being from Sudan, were not the type to tell him and his siblings outright that they were proud of the work their children did, but they showed it in their actions.
“They’re proud of all their children,” he said. “They do a phenomenal job of making not only me but my other siblings feel like we contributed. We helped them out as best we could.”
He added that he and his siblings show appreciation for them, too, because of the opportunities their parents gave them.
Karim Fagir has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Sara Fagir studied biology in university, but after graduating she returned to do another undergrad in chemical engineering.
All five of the Fagir siblings attended university. Two studied medicine, and the oldest studied engineering.
“We’re forever indebted to my mom and dad for putting us in a good position and trying to teach us while taking care of us,” he said.
Karim Fagir also wishes that he could do something similar and create a family business for his own children.
“It helped in my own development,” he said. “It was a great way to raise a family because we can all get behind a common goal. Everyone can have a special role in contributing.”