Northland News

New NABA president wants group to embrace growing diversity in Northland

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Days Inn Columbus North owner Mohammad Ashraf has been elected the new president of the Northland Area Buiness Association.

Incoming Northland Area Business Association president Mohammad Ashraf wants to create more opportunities for members to get together -- but at more varied times to accommodate their full schedules.

He also wants to encourage the growth and development of enterprises that will serve and appeal to the growing ethnic diversity in the region of the city.

Ashraf, owner of the Days Inn Columbus North on East Dublin-Granville Road, was elected president last month, succeeding Roseann Hicks of Yogi's Hoagies. It marked Ashraf's second bid for the business organization's top spot; he was outpolled by Hicks in December 2010.

Also elected to NABA officer posts in December were Dave Cooper of the Ink Well as vice president, Pat McCarren of PM Tax Service as treasurer and Stacie Warren of the Hadler Cos. as secretary.

"I'm looking to work hard to improve the area and businesses," Ashraf said.

To that end, the native of Pakistan said he wants to have monthly meetings, instead of the previous quarterly luncheon gatherings with occasional after-hours and breakfast get-togethers. However, he said, the times for the meetings will rotate to permit business owners and managers to have a variety of opportunities to attend, regardless of how big or small their enterprises might be.

For example, Ashraf said this month's meeting will be a breakfast gathering, followed in February with an after-hours get-together and then a luncheon in March, with the pattern then repeating.

"That is for the membership as a whole," Ashraf said. "We should try to meet each other, get together, know each other and do the planning."

He said he also wants to increase diversity of businesses and dining opportunities, not only for different ethnic groups but also across an array of generations.

"Our position is changing here, with the different ethnic groups coming into the area," Ashraf said. "We need to cater to them, and the businesses need to cater to age groups.

"Businesses are coming up, but we have to take care of the changing population and the changing age groups. If we take care of those things, I think this area will grow again."

Another point of emphasis will be a "business watch," along the lines of a Block Watch, to alert participants about crimes and other problems, Ashraf said.

"If everyone is looking, then the crimes will go down," he said.

Finally, he said would like to see the same kind of beautification that occurred along Morse Road in the wake of the closing of Northland Mall take place along East Dublin-Granville Road, also a major entryway to the community.

"It will take some time, but eventually, we shall get through that one ... so that the place is attractive with greater security and safety," Ashraf said.