From Bus Driver to Business Driver: An Interview with Prem Baral ’12

From Bus Driver to Business Driver: An Interview with Prem Baral ’12

A Nepalese native, Prem Baral came to America at age 17 with his parents and two sisters. A decade later, Baral is the owner of a grocery store at 1621 Columbia Avenue in Lancaster, Everest Grocery. With shelves full of lentils, rice, spices, herbs, and fresh produce, the store offers cuisine from all over the globe, including the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Somalia, and Baral’s home country, Nepal. Needless to say, Everest has proven to be a valuable resource for arriving refugee families.

Everest is just one of Baral’s numerous enterprises. We stopped by his offices on Rohrerstown Road to hear from him about his journey from McCaskey student to seasoned entrepreneur.

McCaskey Alumni Association: How many years were you at McCaskey and what was your academic focus?

Baral: I was there from 2010 to 2012, my junior and senior year. I could not speak English and had a hard time. I was still using an interpreter. I was enrolled as an international student and had a lot of ESL classes.

MAA: You’ve come a long way since that time. What were your first steps after graduating?

Baral: I graduated from McCaskey in 2012. When I was in high school, I was always thinking that I wanted to be a CDL truck driver. I talked to my family, and they didn’t want me driving far away. So then I wanted to be a school bus driver. I saw a sign for Shultz Transportation. They were hiring, and I went there and filled out the application. They called me, and they trained me, and I got my CDL-B. I drove a school bus from 2013 to 2017, for four years. When I was driving a school bus, and since I was already helping people with car and home insurance, I decided I wanted to be an insurance agent. I went online and took some classes for insurance, and I was looking for a company that I wanted to work with, and I chose Nationwide in Millersville. Once I started working there in 2014, Nationwide was giving me experience interacting with people in business. So I started going to school for business at York Technical Institute. I graduated in 2016 fom YTI. I was driving a school bus, working at Nationwide Insurance, and doing full-time school, all at the same time. I had only four or five hours of sleep a night. After that, in 2018, I started working at a home care business. I worked there for two years, and then I bought Everest Grocery. At the same time, I left the home care business, and now I have my own home care business, Dream Home Care LLC.

MAA: How many businesses do you currently own?

Baral: I have seven businesses, from transportation to tech services to groceries.

MAA: Are you glad you came to America?

Baral: Absolutely. It’s the best country for people who want to do better.

MAA: Through your grocery store, you are offering a special deal for refugees, is that correct?

Baral: Yes. At Everest Grocery Store, we offer a $50 gift card and $100 cash to any new family who comes here as a refugee. When I came here back in 2010, my family didn’t have any money. I know what that’s like. I feel that. Also, if a graduating McCaskey student who is a refugee is ever interested in setting up their own business, I’ll be glad to help them at no charge.


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