Fighting to hold on in a pandemic

Published 7:01 am Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Staple of the Sudanese community turns to GoFundMe in an attempt to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic

Gathak Reath loves Austin and he wants to continue serving those who come through his doors at the Sudanese Community International Market.

But like so many other small businesses, Reath is struggling. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the Sudanese Market hard and it has forced Reath to do what he can to continue operating in Austin.

“COVID-19 has come and ever since then, I’ve been stuck,” Reath said from inside his store Monday afternoon. “That’s why it’s been a bad year for my business.”

Reath has started a GoFundMe page to help in the continued operations. Reath, along with his daughter Nyabang Diang, set up the effort on Jan. 6 with a goal of $3,000. As of Tuesday, the drive was sitting at $2,760.

In many ways, the modest Sudanese Market is an important part of the Sudanese community. It carries products that one might find in East Africa, among them goat meat. He also carries beauty products.

However, according to Reath’s GoFundMe, he’s been forced to adapt to familiar consequences that include cutting hours. It’s also forced a drop in the amount of inventory he’s been able to have on site.

It’s been tough because he looks upon the Sudanese community and Austin as family.

“It’s a family business,” Reath said. “This is a nice place to live. I want to succeed in the business.”

The contribute to Reath’s GoFundMe, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/28u6yvyr80?qid=1c86700110389473f2b3900604e44898.