New Starr finds a home

Bukhari opens convenience store on Avenue C

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Azzi Bukhari, owner of New Starr, is all smiles as he stands behind the counter of his recently opened store.

There was a time when Azzi Bukhari had little money to speak of when he began working in Fort Dodge.

“I had no money, believe me,” Bukhari said from inside his new store called New Starr, located at 704 Ave. C.

Pakistan-born Bukhari began as a worker in 2015 at New Star Liquor and Tobacco, which was located along Fifth Avenue South.

Eventually he became the owner there in 2018.

“I started business with $500,” Bukhari said. “I keep my power and I never gave up and kept going on, going on. I struggle, struggle and fight. I always talk to my customers, I tell them if I can do it, you can do it. You only need motivations, positive motivations.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Azzi Bukhari, owner of New Starr, is shown outside of the business.

Then earlier in 2019, Bukhari was told by the property owner at New Star that he was going to sell. So Bukhari had to find a new home for his business.

“I am lucky I found this place,” Bukhari said.

Bukhari bought the building in July for $10,500, according to the Webster County Assessor’s Office.

“Before I bought the building, if I wanted to eat for $5, I’d spend $2,” he said.

The last time the building sold was in 2008.

There have been at least two other stores where New Starr is located.

“People were waiting for something good to come,” Bukhari said. “New Starr now has its own property.”

New Starr opened at the new location on Sept. 1. It’s the only convenience store along that stretch of road along Avenue C.

New Starr sells a variety of liquor, beer, tobacco, soda, energy drinks, and vape products. The store also sells chips, candy and other snack foods.

Bukhari plans to add bread, milk, frozen pizzas and ice cream to the inventory.

“My neighborhood is very happy over here to be served,” he said. “They are happy to see me over here in the neighborhood.”

Bukhari said he serves less than 100 customers per day at the moment, but the traffic in his stores has been increasing.

In terms of the extra “r” at the end of New Starr, Bukhari said that’s because the brand New Star is already registered in Newton.

Before moving to Iowa in 2015, Bukhari had previous experience in sales for Nissan, a Japanese automobile manufacturer.

He did that type of work for a number of years in Dubai.

When Bukhari came to the United States almost five years ago, that’s when he pursued a different career.

“My friends convinced me to move here,” he said. “I was living on pop and chips for a while.”

Bukhari credits his wife, Gloria Bukhari for supporting him.

“My wife motivates me for everything,” he said. “She takes care of me and helps with everything. She’s participating. And what we have going in our life is not for the money, it’s for the success with the people. Not our success.”

Bukhari said it has taken him a lot of time and effort to get settled in, but he’s already looking for the next way to improve the store.

“I had to spend a lot of money on the property to make it nice,” he said. “Day by day it’s improving.”

He said organization is a key to being successful.

“Just to organize,” Bukhari said. “To manage everything in a proper direction. To keep it on the proper way. if one part is missing, everything is going down. We have to focus on every corner.”

He’s happy for the potential.

“We have been enjoying the peace of mind that this is my building,” he said. “It’s a cool place here.”

One service Bukhari is planning to offer soon is home delivery, he said.

New Starr is open from 7 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. To reach the store, call 515-227-5100.