Luck is nice, but it's hard work that turns luck into lasting success.
Rakesh Agarwal came to America about a quarter-century ago. He was in his late 20s and could boast a successful career manufacturing rugs for importers in England, the U.S. and Canada. Some of his rugs graced palaces in Europe.
Friends already had immigrated to Hendersonville. They offered him a job looking after their import business. Although they could pay Agarwal just $12,000 a year, he took the job - even though in 1985, $12,000 was barely enough to pay rent and grocery bills.
Today, Agarwal owns three stores in North Carolina, selling rugs and furniture from all over the world. His success is all because he and his wife, Dolly, went shopping one day, and because they have worked very hard.
A discount store in Hendersonville was giving out $100 gift certificates. Dolly and Rakesh went and wrote their name but were not summoned, so they went home.
"The next morning Dolly calls me and says we've got $100," Rakesh recalled. "That was like a million dollars for us."
The couple went back to the store.
"We wanted to plan what we could spend," Dolly said. "We didn't have dishes or pots and pans - they were given to us by our landlady's church, so it was all borrowed. We wanted to be able to invite our American friends."
They returned a second time to spend more of the gift certificate, and Rakesh thanked the owner.
Before they knew it, Dolly had a job at the store. The store owner wanted to get into selling rugs and asked Rakesh if he could help.
Rakesh and Dolly worked there for 11 years. Before they were done, a business that had been worth very little had grown to a value of $10million.
Then Rakesh and Dolly decided to make a go of it on their own.
Dolly had always had a passion for decorating. She knew she would have more freedom if they had their own store.
"I always wanted to have different, more exotic things, things you wouldn't find in an average store," she says.
Even in these hard times, the two have enabled North Carolinians to find rugs and furniture from India, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Vietnam, Belgium, Indonesia, Mexico, Iran, Romania and Canada, as well as the U.S. Nearly 20 countries are represented in their Kannapolis store, Rug and Home.
"This is what the store is about," Rakesh says. "Uniqueness of merchandise, quality, variety ... and very well priced.
"Just because it is a unique piece doesn't mean it has to cost an arm and a leg. ... It comes in dreams and goes away in reality. Everything must come together - uniqueness and variety and usability in the house."
Some people drive 100 miles to get to the Kannapolis store for Indian tables with contrasting rosewoods; for Chinese pottery; for rugs from Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal.
Hard work brought the world to North Carolina. Now Cabarrus County is lucky.