They kicked the tires on a new business, and it paid off

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Ashfaq Malik and his wife Darla started Advantage Chauffeur in 2006 and now employ six people.

Born and raised in Pakistan, Ashfaq Malik arrived in the United States 26 years ago to obtain an education that would launch a career as a manager in the hotel and hospitality industry in New York.

Born and raised in Pakistan, Ashfaq Malik arrived in the United States 26 years ago to obtain an education that would launch a career as a manager in the hotel and hospitality industry in New York.

But in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Malik found it difficult to find work because of the stigmas attached to his ethnic appearance, his wife said.

After months unsuccessfully searching for a job, the couple took a chance – taking their last savings of $1,500 and moving to Pennsylvania.

By 2006, after Malik worked as a chauffeur and built a reputation as a punctual and courteous driver, the couple started Advantage Chauffeur LLC out of their home.

Today, the company employs six, owns three luxury vehicles that service a large corporate client base and has plans to grow and transition to a brick and mortar business.

“We’re proud that we struggled to get this far from nothing,” Ashfaq Malik said.

When Malik arrived in the U.S., he earned a degree in business administration and enjoyed many years in the hotel industry, working his way from the front desk to manager.

When Sept. 11 hit, though, that all changed, and so did the economy.

Malik was working at a hotel on Long Island, but was laid off from his job following the Sept. 11 attacks. Living in Southampton, N.Y., it would be months of job hunting with very little results that would force Malik and his wife to make a serious decision on whether to stay in New York.

That’s when they decided to move to near Hershey.

Jennifer Glose
Reporter Jennifer Glose covers health care, Berks County and other topics. She can be reached at jenniferg@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 111.

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