By Karen Carr Keefe
Erie County Editor
Grand Island businessman Fahim Mojawalla is known to motivate his staff by setting goals and offering inspiration. The latest recipient of that inspirational goal-setting is – himself!
Mojawalla, who co-owns Island Ship Center with his wife, Seema, is on a transformative journey to kick the sugar habit, eat healthier meals and lose weight.
He credits his team — family and staff — with helping him on what has proved to be a tough, but successful effort.
Island Ship Center, at 1879 Whitehaven Road, is a hub of activity and positivity. The Mojawallas refer to their business as the Spa of Shipping. Customers come and go in a relaxing but productive atmosphere.
Mojawalla wants his sugar-free quest to inspire others to achieve their own success.
“I started in mid-September, and one of our team members, Anthony, was on a sugar-free for Lent last year. He inspired me and encouraged me. My daughters have been wanting to do it for the longest time. They’ve been encouraging me for years,” he said. Fahim and Seema are parents to five children.
“In this journey, what I really needed was a catalyst and finally, I decided to do it,” Mojawalla said, and Anthony was that catalyst.
Anthony does all the videos for the company on the YouTube channel and is Mojawalla’s personal trainer. A junior at Grand Island High School, Anthony is part of a young staff who bring technical knowledge, design and social media skills. They also bring enthusiasm to the job – prompted in no small part by Fahim mantra, “Exude Excellence,” and Seema’s professionalism, expertise and kindness.
“Anthony had a leave of absence last year for soccer. During the season, he had an injury, so he was out for some time, and I wanted to surprise him. So this was my gratitude to him,” Mojawalla said.
“One psychologist told me if you do it for 66 days, it definitely becomes a habit. The first 12 days were the most difficult, but when I did it for 40 days, I then launched on announcement on my personal Facebook page. That’s when I got a lot of comments and encouragement.
After 60 days, Seema and Fahim were on a three-day get-away in Rochester. “I tried ice cream from one of my favorite places, that I was craving,” he said. “I didn’t want it anymore,” he realized. “I had to spit it out because it was too sweet,” he admitted on the blog that is co-authored by Fahim and Seema, “Fahim’s Transformation and Sugar-Free Journey,” posted on islandshipcenter.com.
“Now, I’m past 120 days,” he said. Honey in his Brazilian coffee is the only necessary sweet. Candy is no longer of any interest. “If I can do this, anybody can do this. It really was an addiction.”
Among his other resolutions for the new year are reading, journaling and exercising every day. The book, “Hold on But Don’t Hold Still,” a gift from the store’s manager, Teresa, got him started. “The Miracle Morning,” by Hal Elrod, was another gift, this one from Mojawalla’s financial planner, John Moshides of Williamsville, that he values. It advises practices including silence, affirmation, visualization, exercise, reading and scribing. Taking the first letter of each word, it spells SAVERS, making the qualities easier to remember and to commit to.
“Consistency Crushes Complacency … #FahimFix,” that’s what I tell my team. If I want my business to grow, then I have to grow,” he said.
The approach has grown his business, he said. The year 2020 showed an increase in sales, but one month stands out. “December 2020, we doubled our sales from 2019 ”Mojawalla said. “It was all because of the team. I wasn’t in the front. I was helping them grow.”
“I’m focused on their character, I’m focused on their positivity, I’m focused on them being amazing and moving from mediocrity to excellence. But if I’m not doing that every day, then I withhold that from them, inadvertently,” he said “I didn’t want to do that. So I started with myself in 2021.”
“I don’t have to worry about business. It just follows, because when people come into our place of business, there’s a vibe and an energy that’s not found in many places.”
The services and goods available at Island Ship Center include:
•Packing and shipping as authorized shipper for
FedEx, USPS and UPS.
• Private mailboxes, including digital and virtual mailboxes.
•A 24-hour business center and business services.
•Seema’s Boutique, featuring unique gifts, handbags, handmade soups and body care products.
•Copying and printing services, including posters, banners, business cards, wedding invitations, stationery and more.
•Blueprints and architectural drawings.