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Quail Street Market Stands Strong Through Change

May 3, 2010

by Rich Aviles and Candice Varetoni

ALBANY- On the corner of State Street and Quail Street stands not only a convenience

Quail Street Market Stands Strong Through Change.

store, but an establishment that members of the community feel is their own. Since 1997, Quail Street Market and Deli has been a dependable place for residents’ everyday needs.

After moving to the United States from Yemen, co-owners Adnan Abbas and Salah Abdulla went to Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan. There, they gained an understanding of the English language and how to run a business as well.

Once they earned degrees, they were eager to get into the work force and see what they could achieve in the business world. In 1996, the two moved to Albany and worked to save enough money to start their own business.

“I wanted to be successful here,” said Abbas. “I think that’s what all small business owners strive for.” After a year of saving Abdulla and Abbas purchased the corner store from Peter Sivaslian.

The building was already a convenience store, so very minor things had to be changed, including adding a new deli counter and eliminating a section of frozen vegetables to add more room for drinks.

When Quail Street Market opened in 1997, the store saw immediate success. At the time, the surrounding neighborhood was littered with college students. Offering everything from paper towels to cold cuts by the pound, the students flocked to this corner store for any household needs.

“It was a great time when we first opened,” said Abdulla. “The kids would come to us for everything they needed, and we were more than happy to provide for them. We became friends with a lot of the people around here.”

Abbas is known as a very friendly, outgoing person. Many regulars of Quail Street Market know him as “Hishik Bishik,” which means “all good things” in Arabic. When meeting a new customer or neighbor, Abbas introduces himself as Hishik Bishik instead of his actual name.

“Hish is a great neighbor,” said Justine Sefrin, a student at Hudson Valley Community College and a neighbor of Adnan. “Everybody on my street says ‘hello’ when they see him.”

Not only does Abbas work at and own Quail Street Market, but he also lives up the block on State Street. “I like living here because I get to learn about the school and students,” said Abbas.

Although many college students still live in the area surrounding Quail Market, “the neighborhood has seen a lot of change,” said Adnan. The area has become much more residential in recent years, leading most students to move closer to Western and Madison Avenue.

With this recent flight of college students, along with the decline of American economy, Quail Street Market has lost some of its primary customers. Abdulla and Adnan remodeled the store’s exterior and added a grill and a fryer for an expanded menu designed to attract new business.

Matthias Hackett, a junior at Saint Rose and State Street resident, has been going to the store since he was a freshman.

“As long as I live in Albany I’ll be going to hishik,” said Hackett. “I love their fresh cold cut sandwiches, and now that they have the grill I go there for lunch almost every day.”

Abbas and Abdulla are currently looking for a property to purchase and locate another store. They hope to expand their business to an area further downtown and appeal to more people, while also keeping Quail Street Market up and running.

“We want to find a larger, newer looking store to draw in a large customer base and have success like we did”  with the Quail Market, said Abdulla.

Ex-State Street resident Evan Sanders believes that opening a new store would be a smart move for Abbas to open up another convenience store.

“It think it’s great Hish is opening his own store,” said Sanders. “He will have a lot of us kids travel the extra block to go visit him and get a beef patty special.”

Several months ago, the owners were in the process of purchasing a building near the corner of Madison Avenue and Lark Street, but ended up getting denied. According to Adnan, the surrounding stores wrote up a petition against the new store.

“They claimed that our store would create too much business and would take away from theirs,” said Adnan. “I was led to believe that business was about competition, and I was prepared for some down there.”

For the time being, Quail Street Market is their only store, and nobody is complaining. Alyssa Mescia, a University at Albany senior, recently moved to the area and discovered the corner store this past year.

“I wish I would’ve moved down here a couple of years ago,” said Mescia. “I’ve only been coming here for a few months and they treat me like I’ve been a regular for years now.”

Adnan loves having his store in its corner location. “I really enjoy meeting new people,” said Adnan. “We’ll be here for as long as possible making new friends and serving this community.”



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