Local Family Recalls Three Decades Of An Eastern Market Tradition (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Local Family Recalls Three Decades Of An Eastern Market Tradition

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
About four miles southwest of D.C. Brau is Eastern Market, the Capitol Hill landmark known for its bustling weekend crowds, its flea market and its fresh foods. Three of those fresh food businesses are owned by the same family, Canales Quality Meats, Eastern Market Grocery and Canales Delicatessen.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:23
The owners are three brothers who decades ago came to the U.S. from El Salvador. Jonna McKone recently spoke with two of the brothers and one of their sons about immigrating to the States and starting businesses here in the nation's capital.

MR. JUAN CANALES

00:00:36
Okay. It's going to be a minute please. Thank you very much.

MR. JUAN CANALES

00:00:39
My name is Juan Jose Canales. I own Canales Deli at Eastern Market, been in business for 29 years. We are very lucky to be next to each other with my brothers, Jorge, who owns Eastern Market Groceries and next to him is Emilio. He owns Canales Quality.

MR. EMILIO CANALES

00:00:58
Emilio Canales is my name. I work here for, this April, 20 years with my family and my sons and my wife.

MR. CARLOS CANALES

00:01:09
My name is Carlos Canales. I work for Canales Quality Meats. My father is Emilio Canales. I've been here for 20 years. I started when I was 10 years old. I would sleep underneath a cabinet. I had my own pillow and blankets because we come in bright and early at 3:00 in the morning, 4:00 in the morning.

CANALES

00:01:24
The last piece of the turkey. (unintelligible).

CANALES

00:01:28
I came to this country in 1986.

CANALES

00:01:32
I came in in 1970. I actually was the first one who build a family, I was only 20 back then and I didn't have anybody but friends.

CANALES

00:01:41
I came with my family, my wife, my three boys, my three sons.

CANALES

00:01:46
Back in El Salvador in 1970 I was a student, I was going to university.

CANALES

00:01:51
In my country, we have a store, but we don't sell meat and I grow cow. My country was very dangerous, civil war, we don't choice to come here.

CANALES

00:02:02
There was a long strike back then for political reasons and then I decided to leave. So I came in and hoping to stay a year or two. By then things would be better back home. Things were deteriorating so I was creating roots over here. I met my wife, she's from Ecuador.

CANALES

00:02:23
I always want to get independent, a small business. Someone told me about Eastern Market and I was very lucky that day that I came over and this lady was trying to retire and needs a buyer. So I was able to come in.

CANALES

00:02:44
Fire happened on April 30, 2007 and right away we thought it was the end of Eastern Market, but with the support of the mayor and the community, we were able to survive. Within two years, we were back in the old building and I considered Eastern Market monument for community.

CANALES

00:03:07
And I think the market in general became more united after that fire. We became a bigger family, a more united family. I think we had a lot of discussions and arguments before the fire. Luckily, the community was behind us and backed us with every way that they could and we're still here.

SHEIR

00:03:24
That was Juan Jose Canales, Emilio Canales and Carlos Canales speaking with "Metro Connection's" Jonna McKone. To see photos of the Canales family and to learn more about Eastern Market's offerings, visit our website, metroconnection.org.
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