The United States Department of Defense’s (DOD) mission is to provide the forces needed to discourage war and shield our country’s security. Located in the Pentagon –official, timely information is consistently streaming through defense channels in order to facilitate with the functions and operatio.....
In 2003, Iraqi-native Manhal Jijika was contracted by the DOD to provide contact and intelligence between Iraqi tribal heads and the U.S. Marines. By facilitating information between civilian leader and the military, the DOD was able to keep open lines of communication open in areas of strife.
Sam Oshana is also an Iraqi-born American citizen that moved to the United States in 1990. Oshana also wore a U.S. Marine uniform, but his role was as a news writer for the Department. Working contractually for the U.S. government, Oshana worked in public relations on the ground in Iraq, publishing news in English, as well as working as a news writer to report on up-to-the-minute events.
In 2005, Jijika and Oshana met – bonding over their native country and their experience providing information to the military, Congress and the American public.
Becoming fast friends, the two moved back to the states after their tenure. Oshana settled at Ft. Gordon in Augusta, Georgia – a U.S. Army installation and home of the United States Army Signal Corps and Signal Center.
Jijika took a job at Ft. Hood in Killeen, Texas – a field originally designed to test WWII tank destroyers. After Jijika left Ft. Hood, he too traveled to Ft. Gordon and is still actively operating in the field of service for the military.
Stationed in Georgia, the former colleagues and friends wanted the option of Middle Eastern cuisine in the vicinity, a healthy option to satisfy their affinity for the international food, as well as provide another local alternative for their fellow community members, most of which were in active military service. In an effort to also open something that could be parallel with the general public’s health-conscious diet, the two set out to find a franchise concept that could deliver on all these requirements.
After extensive research, Jijika and Oshana decided on Pita Pit, a brand whose mantra is to, “connect healthy food with people seeking alternatives to the typical fast food choices.”
The military members-turned-entrepreneurs opened their first location October of last year. Oshana remains behind the back-end business and is joined by Jijika’s wife, who serves as the operational manager.
“There aren’t a lot of healthy places for the local government employees and health-conscious military service men and women in the area,” said Jijika. “Most of the uniformed employees sit behind the computer for 10-15 hours a day. We have a huge base, and we need to help everyone maintain a healthful mindset and a fit body shape.”
Since opening in October, the duo took over the Augusta , Georgia Pita Pit location on June 17 and are operating the store under their transferred ownership. As for the future, Oshana and Jijika both believe in the concept –and backed by the success they’ve seen since opening –hope to open more locations in the future throughout the Central Savannah River Area.