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One of a family of hard-working entrepreneurs, Sam Hameed of the Madina Asian Food Co speaks to Louise Browne about his dedication to the long-running business

Last update - Thursday, February 26, 2009, 17:41 By Metro Éireann

Born in Mauritius and raised in Pakistan, Sam Hameed was living in France when he got a phone call from his father, asking him to join the family in Dublin.

“I was living in France for nearly 15 years then,” he says. “I decided to come to Ireland to see what it would be like for business.”
Well used to globetrotting, Hameed packed his bags, made the short journey over and hasn’t looked back since. Seven years on, he is now an integral part of the family business, the Madina Asian Food Company, with his retail outlet going from strength to strength.
Hameed and his family have certainly come a long way since his father – who came to Dublin from Pakistan 35 years ago – first sold clothes door-to-door around Dublin..
Named after the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, Madina – the shop started by Hameed’s father – was the first Asian and halal food store in Dublin’s north inner city offering its customers a wide range of ethnic products. The family put their heart and soul into the business. “Mother used to make Punjabi samosas at home and sell them in the shop,” recalls Hameed.
Over the years the family business steadily grew, with Hameed’s father passing on both his business knowledge and responsibilities to his sons.  “My dad has three sons,” says Hameed, “so he gave the right to all of us to look after one business, so that all his sons could be good businessmen.”
Hameed assumed the reins at Madina, while his brother Ali took over Noor Madina Asian Foods Ltd,  based in the heart of Dublin’s Smithfield vegetable market, and the first company to import all types of ethnic and African fruits and vegetables into Ireland.
Then in 2006, the family opened the Madina Desi Curry Company, handing the running of the non-alcoholic restaurant on Dublin’s Mary Street over to the third son, Adnan. Specialising in both traditional and original homemade curries, the restaurant recently received the ‘best curry’ award among Ireland’s top 100 restaurants.
Standing in his newest venture, a 4,000 sq ft Asian supermarket which opened last March on Dublin’s bustling Parnell Street, Hameed is busy putting the final touches to the second floor of the building.
“We are going to open up a new shop upstairs,” he says. “We are doing the same as in Moore Street, where we will have a hot deli at the back. We will also make it our main office where I can work on our website. All the main things will be here.”
Despite his success, being the boss hasn’t always been easy for Hameed. “I had to run it by myself, run the shop, the staff and it wasn’t easy for me,” he admits. “But we have a good system right now. Everything is very, very good.
“For myself, I have to thank all the people who come and visit the shop. I appreciate that if you have any complaints that you should say something because it is better to express your feelings.”
For more information on Sam Hameed and the Madina Asian Food Company, visit the website at

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