Date Published - June 30 / 1994
Magic Carpets are 'Down to Earth' in Doylestown
Photo: Theresa and Ali Nejad of Nejad Gallery Oriental Rugs
by Lorraine Weller
Sitting in a chair covered in small red oriental rugs, I notice the desk facing me is also covered in small oriental rugs – these ones green and under glass. Just one step away is a showroom full of exquisite carpets from India, Pakistan, Persia, Turkey, Afghanistan and China. It is a cozy place to sit and talk with Ali and Theresa Nejad of the Nejad Gallery in Doylestown.
The Nejads are a striking couple, she is a young American woman from Pennsylvania with beautiful long blond hair, he is a young man from Tehran with black curly hair and snapping dark eyes. Both are warm in spirit. They smile a lot – not only at each other, but at their customers as well.
In the midst of the phone ringing, fax machine jangling, and customers coming into the gallery, they seemed completely at ease in their business world and with each other.
This 13-member family business has galleries in Germany, Iran and the United States. Ali is in charge of the retails stores and their expansion in the entire U.S.A. He has opened four stores: Doylestown, Highland Field and Princeton N.J and Whitehall, PA.
Their gallery on Main and State Streets in Doylestown was their first retail store and dear to their hearts. As Ali says “we are very fond of the Doylestown People – they hold a very special place – they were so receptive and supportive of us from the beginning.”
After graduating from college, Theresa worked as a color coordinator for a cosmetic firm. She is now enrolled at Temple University on the MBA program.
Ali received his early education in Tehran and then came to Michigan State University for his college years. He then stayed on in the United States, coming to live with a brother who was already residing in Doylestown.
Mutual friends had a party and invited both Ali and Theresa. That first meeting led to a courtship and then marriage.
As for coming into the business as both a family member and an employee, Theresa feels she had a tremendous advantage by beginning her job part-time. By the time she came aboard full-time, she and Ali had discovered each other’s strengths and preferences in the business and knew what they each could do and wanted to do. Now they both wear many hats and still know what the other is doing. On top of that, other family members became used to her being in their midst.
Asked how a couple is able to survive 23-hours-a-day, Theresa gives a mischievous grin and says’ “maybe we have an advantage – Ali has to be at the other stores several days a week and on those days we only see each other at night.”
They are members of the chamber of commerce in each city where they have a store and try to be supportive of the each community as possible.
Locally, they are members of the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce and the Doylestown Business Alliance.
Ali gives one-hour lectures at schools, taking along a loom, a weaver, and a sample of an oriental rug. He feels young people should know what goes in to producing a lasting thing of beauty.
For relaxation, Ali is a gourmet cook. Theresa says he is so good, they don’t have to have a party to show off his cooking, people just call up and invite themselves over for dinner.
As importers, Ali and Theresa recently enjoyed a trip to China and in the fall will be jetting off again – this time to Iran on business.
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