The New Faces of Westchester: Phillip Kermanshahchi

Forced to escape Iran during the Islamic Revolution, Kermanshahchi now lives a life of “freedom and opportunity.”

Phillip Kermanshahchi, Iran

The website for Sharon’s Sorbet says it’s “the first super-premium sorbet to be offered through traditional retail channels.” It doesn’t say, however, that its founder, Phillip Kermanshahchi, was just 17 when his family was forced to escape Iran in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution, for fear of religious persecution. The Scarsdale resident, now a married father of two sons, has built a life of “freedom and opportunity that the Islamic government in Iran would have never allowed.”

My Story: “Our crime was that, as Jews, we had prospered on the blood and sweat of Muslims, and that was punishable by death. Needless to say, we are never able to go back.…My father was able to work for and acquire a printing firm in the New York City to support our family. After I finished college, I, too, went into the business with my father and learned the intricacies of doing business from him. In 1990, with the help of my sister and father, I started Sharon’s Sorbet. Sharon’s started as a project in the kitchen and took off once the sorbet was put on some deli shelves. Now, I am a happy resident of Westchester. I see how different the demographics of my surroundings are today from when my family first immigrated to Harrison; with so many different backgrounds and languages of my friends and neighbors, I feel quite at home here.”

My biggest challenge when first moving to the US:  “Realizing that the life I was used to back home will change drastically and I will never be welcome back.”

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