If you lived or visited the westside of Albany, Georgia there is a good chance you know Paul from that store on Maple and Clark. Paul, formally known as Pravinbhai, came from a small village in Gujarat, India. Since he migrated to the United States, he has been working in the same store for 22 years, 7 days a week, and 14 hours a day.
His customers became his new friends that taught him basic English, a few cuss words, and the dap. Given any opportunity, Paul would be cracking jokes with his customers. He could tell you the name and nickname of any customer that walked through the door. He would be able to list the name of all the siblings, parents, friends, and any major event that might have happened in their life.
In his time, he has seen kids become parents. Yet all this time, he didn’t see any improvement in or around the community. The community was seen as an investment risk. He was willing to bet on the community, but no bank or businessmen would lend a dollar. Over a hundred documents, 73 meetings, and 3 years, no one was convinced. He was rejected even when he offered his entire savings as collateral. Yet, he kept asking and was eventually able to convince one bank.
While he looked for funding, he asked his son to prepare a proposal on what could bring value to the community. The community lacked almost every daily necessity. It could benefit from a barbershop, postal service, boutique, cafe, restaurant, or bakery. Paul, without hesitation, decided that he wanted the community to have access to all of these services plus any others that would help save people Time. By placing all the daily necessities in one location, he hoped, the customer would be able to save at least an hour a day. This hour could be spent with kids, exercising, talking to friends, or just enjoying nature.
The planning process took over 4 years to find the necessary partners, funding, and design to even break ground. In the end, the new concept combined 12 different services together that could save a daily customer 3 hours, but at least an hour a day. After the entire project was presented to Paul, he challenged the concept to go much further. Customers should be able to save time and they should feel a sense of peace.
One month later, One Leaf was created…