Sunday, December 2, 2012

Filli Abdulkdra, Merchant, Amy’s Merkato, Madrona

Filli Adbulkrdra left behind the glories and tragedies of his home, Ethiopia, determined to build a successful life for himself and his beloved family in the Central Area with his store and café, Amy’s Merkato.

Photo: Madeline Crowley

The police have been really good, now there is a much bigger police presence and the street activity has disappeared. You feel safe now especially at night. It’s much safer. I am grateful to the Seattle Police.

Photo by Madeline Crowley

Amy’s Merkato is a large retail store stocked with Ethiopian goods, and spices plus convenience items; fresh, butchered meat, a bakery and a Café.  The bakery supplies Ethiopian restaurants in the Seattle area with their famous, fresh Injera, a specialty flatbread featured in the Seattle Times food section. While his flavorful Berber beef draws in both neighborhood and Ethiopian families to his Café.
Photo by Madeline Crowley

Customers are always greeted with a broad smile and genuine, radiant warmth. He is an affable but serious man, comfortable in his own skin, fascinated with life, people, cultures and food. If you get to know him, you’ll hear his insightful impressions of the places he’s traveled and how business is done there. He was educated in India, visits friends doing business in Hong Kong and Dubai, as well as seeing family living in Italy and Ethiopia.

Filli in Italy. Collection Filli Abdulkdra

He’s a warm, sunny presence on the block, a devoted family man who works long hours to provide as limitless a future possible for his beloved daughter.

Filli on our Community:
I came from Ethiopia. I have a daughter, her name is Delina. She is the center of my life and my wife’s name is Yodit. I live in Lynnwood, a long drive from here. I'm planning a lot of things for my future and the future of my family. I would like to change my work schedule from a 6-day schedule to one where I can spend more time with my daughter while she’s still at home.

Filli with infant Delina. Collection Filli Abdulkdra

Most of the last 12 years, I’m here on this street, in this store. I am here 6 days a week because I only take off on Sunday.   So I can’t say too much about the history of this place because always I am in my store.
Infant Filli with his father in Ethiopia. Collection Filli Abdulkdra
Madrona is a beautiful place.  There are so many friendly people nowadays. You have people of different races, different backgrounds, and different finances. It mixes people from all ways of life.  Lots of interesting people here doing many types of jobs, there are more professional people now. The economy is improving so I am happy.
Filli in High School. Collection Filli Abdulkdra
It changes every time a house changes hands. The dilapidated houses are fixed and attractive now. It is a beautiful neighborhood.

When I opened in 2000 there were a lot of bad things, illegal things. This area still has that reputation. There was crime in 2000 up until 2008. Since then I have seen big changes in this neighborhood. I used to be uncomfortable closing up my store alone at night and going to my car. There was street activity; I was worried locking up and leaving.

The police have been really good, now there is a much bigger police presence and the street activity has disappeared. You feel safe now especially at night. It’s much safer. I am grateful to the Seattle Police.

It looks like a bright future for this community but this depends on how the community organizes itself from things like the shootout (the murder of Justin Ferrari). If the community organizes itself to put that type of activity out, then this community will be a great place. I am glad to be here.

Amy's Merkato. 2922 E Cherry St. Seattle. 206.324.2527  Amy's Merkato Facebook

[Filli was chosen for this project as he's a local business owner] 

©  Madeline Crowley People of the Central Area 2013   All material is covered by copyright. Express written permission must be given for any copyrighted material on this page. Email to request permission to copy or paste materials. 

This project was supported in part by
4Culture's Heritage Projects program

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About Me

Seattle, WA, United States
I am not a professional photographer nor a trained journalist. At community meetings, it became clear that many of us don’t know each other. We haven’t heard each other’s stories and don't know each other’s circumstances. This is my attempt to give a few people the chance to tell their story, to talk about our community, to say their piece in peace. As such, comments have been disabled. The views and opinions expressed here are those of each narrator and do not necessarily reflect the position of views of the CentralAreaComm.blogspot blog site itself. The is not responsible for the accuracy of any information supplied by narrators of this project. All interviews have been edited and in places condensed.

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