Three North Shore business owners have been nominated for Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards from the nonprofit Immigrant Learning Center in Malden.
Umesh Bhuju of Zumi’s Espresso and Ice Cream in Ipswich and Francisco Lora of Tropicana Market in Salem have been nominated in the “outstanding neighborhood business” category. Lisandra Mones of Glitterati Style in Salem and Danvers has been nominated for “outstanding business growth.”
The Immigrant Learning Center, which provides free English classes and other services, will announce the winners May 8 at a dinner at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge.
Zumi’s: From mountain guide in Nepal to espresso in Ipswich
Umesh Bhuju, 43, opened Zumi’s, a fair-trade coffee and ice cream shop, 10 years ago.
The Market Street shop sits in the heart of downtown Ipswich and backs up to EBSCO Publishing, where 700 employees work. Many get their daily coffee at Zumi’s.
The name is a combination of Umi, his nickname, and Zillie, the first name of his wife, who is from a Greek immigrant family from Salem. The couple now live in Topsfield.
In an age when many coffee shops are run by large chains, Zumi’s is different.
“I’m a community guy,” Bhuju said.
Growing up in Nepal, he worked as a mountain guide, and because of that upbringing, he is a strong supporter of environmental causes, including Essex County Greenbelt, the Essex County Trail Association and Appleton Farms, to name a few. The cafe allows him to provide a forum for artists, lectures by environmentalists and conservationists, and readings by poets.
“It’s not just running a coffeehouse,” Bhuju said.
Bhuju is the son of an engineer who worked on UNICEF projects in remote regions of Nepal. He grew up in a village near Mount Annapurna and went to high school in a village outside Kathmandu. Growing up, he liked to hike the mountains and lead trips for foreign tourists. When he finished high school, he became a certified mountain guide.