MS. REBECCA SHEIR
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
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
Okay. It's going to be a minute please. Thank you very much.
MR. JUAN CANALES
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
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
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.
The last piece of the turkey. (unintelligible).
I came to this country in 1986.
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.
I came with my family, my wife, my three boys, my three sons.
Back in El Salvador in 1970 I was a student, I was going to university.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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