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HOOKSETT, N.H. — Elie El-Chalfoun, founder of the Mega-X chain of convenience stores, was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as the 2016 Small Business Person of the Year for New Hampshire.
He will be honored on May 1 and joined by winners from other states and territories in Washington, D.C., when the National Small Business Person of the Year will be announced.
El-Chalfoun, who was born in Lebanon, operates six Mega-X convenience stores in the New Hampshire towns of Manchester, Auburn, Allenstown, Suncook, Windham and Hooksett. He credits the SBA and local bankers for providing the financing so he could get to where he is today.
“I came from a country where we have no welfare,” El-Chafoun told the New Hampshire Union Leader. “We have no retirement plan. We don’t have any of those things. We learn the hard way. My father had to work hard. He had to make a future for all of his kids and give it to us. That’s our culture. When I came here, I used the same culture as back home. … I work hard. I made it to the point in my life where I’m happy now. I have security.”
El-Chalfoun, who arrived in Boston in 1989 with $5,000, now employs about 20 people at his six Mega-X c-stores. He may not stop at six stores either.
“I’m always keeping my eyes open,” he told the news outlet, “and I would like to grow more and more.”