And so, too, do the Abushis, though with one difference. They are wealthy themselves. Though raised in a tightknit first-generation clan by parents whose lives were often defined by displacement and financial reversal, they became rich in their own right following the sale, in 2014, to a venture capital group of a chain of 100 Verizon franchises built across the western United States in barely 10 years. Though declining to disclose the precise amount of the deal, they ballparked it at $50 million.
With little debt and their own substantial grubstake, the four Abushi brothers — Abed, Yas, Rosco and Fadi — set about looking for a business that would keep them united as a unit, combine a shared passion for cars (their own collection numbers over 100) and feature their name on the door. In 2017, they relocated from Northern California, where the retail custom market was predictably saturated, settling on Queens as a hub because — surprisingly and despite the dense pack of wealth in the country’s financial capital — nothing quite like it existed.
“Before them, you’d have to take your chances and go from shop to shop,” Mr. Jean-Raymond said. “And you were always getting ripped off.”
Sitting in the Abushi showroom last week, Abed Abushi, 41, explained how across the decades their peripatetic father had built and lost a number of businesses, among them a wholesale fruit concern in Texas, a string of bodegas and supermarkets around Oakland, Calif., and a confectionery distributorship in New Jersey. Occasionally collateral damage from tragic international events played a role in his family’s fate, Abed said: “After 9/11, no one would do business with my dad and so he went bankrupt.”
“But his view was always that money comes and goes but family is the only real wealth,” Rosco Abushi, 35, said then. “Because of that, we’re never afraid to go back to nothing because we had nothing.”