Syrian-Armenian repatriate: “Nothing comes easy, and nothing is served on a silver platter”

Through the #3wordsofadvicefromasyrianarmenian hashtag, Hayern Aysor presents its interview with owner of Jasmin Restaurant Hasmig Ashodian.

Hayern Aysor: Mrs. Ashodian, could you tell us about your business?

Hasmig Ashodian: We had a shawrma shop called “Sandwich of Aleppo” on Sayat-Nova Street a long time ago. We would serve Syrian fast food. Later, we opened a small diner next to it and only had four tables. Since it was in the winter, we started serving hot meals, thinking they would sell well.

After running the diner for four years, we decided we need to open a bigger restaurant. Four months ago, we opened this restaurant. We closed down the previous outlets and focused on this business. Now we have a longer menu and serve tasty Oriental dishes.

Hayern Aysor: The restaurant is called “Jasmin”. Who named the restaurant?

Hasmig Ashodian: It is named after me. I simply changed the name to Jasmin.

Hayern Aysor: You said you mainly serve Oriental dishes. Do you have a special dish that people can only eat here?

Hasmig Ashodian: We serve the tastiest “Ful” and “Faten” here. Our customers come to our restaurant to taste these dishes.

Hayern Aysor: Who are your main customers?

Hasmig Ashodian: Half of the main customers are the locals. Our old customers also visit us. Diaspora Armenians visiting Armenia also prefer our restaurant.

Hayern Aysor: What difficulties have you faced over the years?

Hasmig Ashodian: Nothing comes easy, and nothing is served on a silver platter. However, we have overcome and continue to overcome the difficulties with diligence. The legislation is new, especially the mechanism of paying taxes. In Syria, we would pay an annual tax, which amounted to the tax that we pay here for one month. We have no problem in terms of the culture. We love the people here the same way we loved them there.

Hayern Aysor: In closing, what advice would you give to those who wish to start a business in Armenia?

Hasmig Ashodian: I think the most important thing is to work. You need to be attentive and be able to communicate with new people. Another important thing is that our business is a family business. It is easier for us to work together since we are all one family and trust each other.

Laura Samvelyan