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Home News ‘Strength and high-quality’: Prince Albert businessman draws on East African roots for new store

‘Strength and high-quality’: Prince Albert businessman draws on East African roots for new store

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‘Strength and high-quality’: Prince Albert businessman draws on East African roots for new store
Abanos officially opened in the Gateway Mall on Monday, Jan. 2, 2022. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Prince Albert business owner Abdul Karim Mohammed looked to his roots in East Africa when choosing a name for his new store.

Mohammed officially opened his new boutique store Abanos in Gateway Mall on Tuesday. The name comes from a type of African wood that’s known for its strength and high-quality, two things Mohammed hopes his new store will be known for.

“I am very excited because this is a very good chance, opening a store here,” he said Monday afternoon. “I’m going to serve the community because I know many people are looking for some stuff like this that is never found here in PA. Sometimes people drive into Saskatoon to get this stuff.”

Mohammed is originally from Sudan, but moved to Uganda and then Canada with his family roughly five years ago. Family friend Alfred Leberio was one of the first people he met when he moved to Prince Albert. On Monday, Leberio was there to support his friend and Abanos.


“When he came here he said, ‘why should people go to Saskatoon? Why don’t we just open a place here so people can have these things here instead of driving to Saskatoon?’” Leberio remembered. “(He said), ‘this is our city. We should promote our city.”

Abanos owner/operator Abdul Karim Mohammed (left) gives a customer a receipt while family friend Alfred Leberio (right) looks on. — Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Five years later, and Mohammed’s plan has come to fruition. He’s excited, but not nervous, even though doing business in Canada is very different compared to East Africa.

“This is my career. I like to do business,” he said. “When I came here (to) Canada, I looked around and said, ‘this is a very good opportunity. I can open this business because I have this experience.’”

Mohammed said he’s grateful for friends like Leberio who showed up to support him on Monday, and also gave him help and advice along the way.

“He has been in this city almost 20 years,” Mohammed said of Leberio. “He knows a lot of people, and I’m very appreciative.”

Abanos provides a variety of items, from cosmetics to kitchen wares to blankets and bedding. Mohammed said this is just the beginning. He hopes to expand his store once he gets a firm foothold in the community.