The El Hakim family immigrated to the United States from the War Torn country of Lebanon in the early eighties. What was originally a break from the inherent dangers surrounding life in a war zone and the bombing of Denise’s elementary school, a simple vacation to the States to visit family and friends turned to an indefinite stay when all flights were grounded from returning them to their home. Phillipe owned a successful group of businesses in Lebanon, including a factory. Unable to return home they entered survival mode. With limited English and no money, Phillippe took a job making furniture in Denver. A customer of the of the furniture business and now longtime friend, was doing business at the shop one day and mentioned to Phillippe the property at 1300 W. Elizabeth, Ft. Collins was ending a lease soon. A call to Samia to ask if she would be willing to prepare her family recipes for the masses and after confirming she would be, the family entered a new chapter in all of their lives. Samia always loved to cook and would prepare enough food for the neighbors when they lived in Denver. After each meal everyone would tell Samia “Yum Yum.” And this is how Yum Yum’s Restaurant came to be. The first few years were a struggle. Very few people at the time knew what Gyros were and even fewer had ever heard of hummus. They literally gave samples away to introduce Fort Collins to the delicious and nutritious cuisine. Soon the customer base began to grow. As more people from and around the great community of Fort Collins tried the dishes they were returning more and more. Twenty-four years later and the development of Campus West around the little sandwich shop has turned out to be yet another success story of “The American Dream.”
As Denise and Elianne began to explore their careers outside of the family business, the topic of retirement for Phillippe and Samia became the center of the family’s discussions. Phillippe turned to his same friend from 24 years ago to appraise the business and discuss the eventual sale of Yum Yum’s. This has been one of the most difficult decisions they have ever had to make as a family. Their whole lives centered on this business. They all decided that this was the right choice, but not without reservation and stipulations. The family wanted the tradition of Yum Yum’s to live on, unaltered. So how do find a buyer that will preserve everything they have built over the last 20 plus years? As fate would have it their friend had friends in Florida that had begun researching restaurants for sale in the Ft Collins area at exactly the same time they had decided to move forward with the sale. Now to introduce the newest family members to the El Hakim family- Travis and Cindy Stutzman along with their two youngest Kaleigh and Zach.
As told by the El Hakim family….
After long and successful careers in the corporate world my husband and I wanted to get back to the basic premise of “one’s own hard work yields rewards.” We have always discussed purchasing a restaurant. I had several years of experience in the restaurant industry in high school and college before entering my management career in finance. My husband had owned a restaurant in the past and often became nostalgic when talking about the good ol’ days. And after years of Construction Management, we both decide to chase our dream. Our oldest daughter lived in Fort Collins for several years, and our visits to this community always left a lasting impression. We began searching for restaurants for sale in the area. We found some restaurants and my husband flew out from Florida to take a look at potential properties.
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