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Shisha District: Imports and Distribution

Shisha District: Imports and Distribution

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By Tarik Meziab

This project covers a period of three weeks at my family business, a tobacco and Syrian goods importing business called Shisha District in Phoenix, AZ. My father, Ziad Meziab, started his company Meziab International in Tucson, Arizona in 2006 and started as a coffee and baklava import business, using connections in his home country of Syria to bring his goods to  Arizona to be shipped around the country. He decided to get into the tobacco business soon after starting his import business. His main competition was based in Phoenix at the time, so he decided to wholesale and distribute tobacco to smoke shops and hookah lounges in the Tucson area. His competition tried hard to put him out of business, undercutting his prices and trying to take back the clients that my father acquired through his cutthroat Arab business savvy. They didn’t succeed. 

In 2017, my father opened his new warehouse Shisha District in Phoenix, blocks away from the competition that failed to kill his business. Over the past four years, he has acquired more of their customers and expanded his business exponentially. Every winter, my dad imports containers of Syrian sweets bearing our name and Haseeb Turkish coffee. The summer heat of Arizona is too harsh for food items to be imported, so every year we receive all of our food items within a matter of weeks in the winter. This time is stressful for us because we run out of both time and space in the warehouse when all the shipments arrive. Covid has made this especially tricky, as many of the containers were delayed and are now arriving within days of one another. The following photos will identify all the workers involved at the warehouse and document the process of preparing for and receiving these massive food item shipments.