Murtaza Jaffer, Co-Founder, EBC Printing & Signs
If you’ve ever attended one of Lehigh Valley Chamber’s events, there’s a good chance you’ve seen or met Murtaza Jaffer. He’s a co-owner of Express Business Center (EBC), which he and his brother Mustafa founded in Allentown nearly two decades ago. Murtaza is an active member of the local community and represents the business at events and tradeshows throughout the region.
Both brothers immigrated to Allentown from Tanzania, East Africa, in the late 1990s to attend colleges in Lehigh Valley. Mustafa completed two years at Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) before transferring to Lehigh University, and loved the Lehigh Valley so much that he decided to sponsor Murtaza to come here as well. He also enrolled at LCCC before going on to earn his degree from Penn State Lehigh Valley.
They decided to stick together and seek out business opportunities in the region. Express Business Center started out as a retail storefront for packing, shipping, and copying, and has since grown to include various marketing services for local businesses, such as printing, signage, mailings and branded promotional items.
He attributes much of their success to the business community and local organizations that serve to connect small businesses and grow the local economy. “We have an excellent, vibrant business community here. I believe in building relationships and getting to know and understand my customer’s businesses, and without the networking opportunities it would be much harder to do that.”
He’s also grown his community involvement through volunteering with local non-profits, serving on the Board of Trustees at Cedar Crest College, the foundation board for Lehigh Carbon Community College, and the Ambassadors Council of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.
They’ve also found a true sense of community in Lehigh Valley, which was something they weren’t sure they’d find when they immigrated here. They belong to the Al-Ahad Islamic Center in the West End of Allentown with more than 500 other local families and enjoy community events and cultural activities throughout the year.
“Coming from a very different background and culture, I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to connect with my faith and beliefs here in America, but when I came to the Lehigh Valley, I found that there is an East African community right here in the Lehigh Valley, and that just speaks to how diverse and rich our culture is here.”
Live like a local:
Favorite restaurant: ACI Halal Turkish Restaurant in Downtown Allentown
Favorite thing to do on the weekend: Bike ride with my friend Zac Cohen
Favorite Park: Trexler Park in Allentown. My daughter Mariam and I love our walks there.