Celebrating 15 years of success: Selam International Mart & Café

Enjoy native Ethiopian culture while relaxing with friends.

Celebrating success is our annual event, and we celebrate the achievements of our clients and their impact on the local economy. This year will be a special year for us as we celebrate our 15th anniversary with our vision that all businesses should be profitable, sustainable and assets to the community. We have been with interviewing a client each week to share their success stories, with a total of 15 businesses. Previously we featured Spencer Costley. To read his story click HERE.

Sitotaw Degefaw is owner of Selam International Mart & Café, supplies fresh meat, serves delicious cuisine, Ethiopian spices, and more.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Sitotaw Degefaw.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: I can create the future by learning more about business. The business is sustainable for my partner, employers, and me. I take pride in providing East African products that usually people can’t find in Austin.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: I have been working with EGBI for 3 years. I took classes and graduated from one of EGBI’s business workshop series . EGBI helped with the planning of my business from the beginning. At first, it was not easy to open a slaughter house so I switched to the a market. I was able to get a place for a grocery store with a restaurant. EGBI helped me find a network and partnership with friends.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: Selam International Mart & Café is a unique grocery store which has spices and food from East Africa. Also, they offer fresh meat and lamb.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

A: My store is still growing and continues to change. I had a big success when we worked together and gathered partners to cooperate.

Sitotaw Degefaw is the fifth of the 15 clients we we have shared stories about each week leading up to our 15 year celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we serve. If you would like to further support these businesses, consider using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

SAVE THE DATE! Celebrating Success Luncheon will be on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

EGBI Client Answers, “Where’s the beef?”

Sitotaw Degefaw, EGBI’s recent graduate of the Emerging Enterprises Training Progam, wanted to open a butcher shop similar to his family’s shop in Gonder, Ethiopia.  His desire was for a place where his customers could get fresh, high quality beef and also a place of community for people from East Africa that now live in the Austin area.  In October, Sitotaw made his dreams come true with the opening of Salam’s International Mart & Café at 10009 North Lamar Blvd, Austin Texas 78753 (less than a mile north of Rundberg Ln).
Salam’s offers grass fed beef perfect for people who are looking for a healthier option or who delight in a raw meat cuisine. According to the American Grass Fed Beef Organization, this meat is lower in total fat than grainfed animals, lower in calories and contains extra Omega-3s, which may reduce cancer risks.
Along with his butcher shop, Salam’s has a dine-in area where visitors can enjoy traditional Ethiopian food such as Injera, Kurt, Tibs, Kitfo and Ethiopian coffee. Visitors who can’t stay to eat can pick up their favorite Ethiopian spices to prepare their own meals at home.
Sitotaw graduated from EGBI’s program in June, which propelled him forward to meet his business goals. “Taking the classes helped open my mind. I knew having enough money wasn’t enough to open a business. Studying at EGBI gave me the info to move in the right direction.”  Sitotaw described how Joni Foster, EGBI’s Program Director, helped him face his many hurdles in their one-on-one coaching sessions. “She connected me to the supplier that slaughters the specialty meat according to my countries custom.”  The advice Sitotaw shares with other entrepreneurs is to save money, as financing a business can be a big challenge when starting a business.