HIGH POINT, NC
Zaki Khalifa never intended to start a successful Oriental rug
business in High Point.
He had planned to move to New York City, but greater forces kept
him here, where he opened Zaki Oriental Rugs on S. Main Street.
Likewise, he never intended to receive a national award. But
after being nominated by the Pakistan Embassy in the U.S., he'll
finally go to New York City to receive an award for his
accomplishments as a business leader on June 10.
"It was unbelievable," he said about being notified of the
Khalifa, who said he first came to High Point only to visit one
of his former college professors, has been selected as one of
the Outstanding 50 Asian-Americans in Business by the Asian
American Business Development Center.
He will be presented with the award in front of 600 people from
government, business and civic leadership roles.
His professor, Carl Wheeles, former chairman of the department
of history and political science at High Point University, had
taught Khalifa at a missionary college in Pakistan. He urged
Khalifa to open his business in High Point.
Almost one year after he arrived from Lahore, Pakistan, he took
Wheeles' advice and opened his business in 1977 in a
3,000-square-foot shop on Main Street. Today, he has a
100,000-square-foot building with an inventory of more than
14,000 hand-knotted rugs imported from the Middle East.
Tom Dayvault, president and CEO of the High Point Chamber of
Commerce, said Khalifa's efforts have been noticed throughout
"The impact of his leadership reaches not only throughout
America but the far concerns of the world. Our chamber and our
community are very aware of Zaki's benevolence and leadership.
Now the entire country is aware of his vision and humble
spirit," Dayvault said.
photo by: don davis jr. | hpe
Zaki Khalifa, owner of Zaki Oriental Rugs on S. Main Street, was
named one of the Outstanding 50 Asian-Americans in Business by
the Asian American Business Development Center. Khalifa was
nominated by the embassy of his native country, Pakistan.