By Trudy Whitman
To call Sahadi’s, the specialty food store on Atlantic Avenue, a neighborhood institution is an understatement. Finding words to capture the spirit of Charlie Sahadi, the affable head of the family business, is no easy task either. Charlie has been working at Sahadi’s since 1963, but every day is like his first. Cheerful, helpful, and armed with an ever-ready quip, Charlie runs a tight ship that caters to retail innovation and customer satisfaction.
Sahadi is also a neighborhood leader working in the service of Brooklyn. Crain’s New York named him one of the 100 Most Powerful Minority Business Leaders. And among his other honors was a Brooklyn Heights Community Service Award, as well as a 2007 Lebanese Heritage Day Award, the latter under the sponsorship of Borough President Markowitz.
Charlie Sahadi is about to be celebrated once more, this time as the first Annual Atlantic Avenue Ambassador on Tuesday, September 27, from 7-9 p.m., at Roulette, a new performing arts space at 509 Atlantic Avenue. Proceeds will benefit the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation.
Sahadi said he was “very honored,” indeed, to be Atlantic Avenue’s first official ambassador. “I am always defending our borough,” Sahadi told me. “When people say ‘the city’ and they actually mean Manhattan, I tell them they are missing the point. ‘Brooklyn is where you should come,’ I always say.”
Initially reluctant to accept the Ambassador Award, Sahadi revealed that his wife and daughter convinced him it would be good for the borough: “Anything I can do to push Brooklyn forward, I am delighted to do,” Sahadi concluded.
For ticket information for the Atlantic Avenue Ambassador fête honoring Charlie Sahadi, send an email to atlanticave@atlantic ave.org or call 718 875-8993.