ATLANTIC AVENUE — The Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation (AALDC) announces The First Annual Atlantic Avenue Ambassador Award, recognizing an exceptional community or business person who has made outstanding contributions to the economic and cultural development of Atlantic Avenue from the East River to Flatbush Avenue.
The 2011 Inaugural Award recipient is Charlie Sahadi, CEO of Sahadi¹s, the well-known wholesale and retail specialty foods operation that has been on Atlantic Avenue since 1948. He will be honored at a special event at the Roulette Theater on Sept. 27.
With its mandate to increase economic development, historic preservation, and cultural enrichment in the greater Atlantic Avenue area, the AALDC, a non-profit organization, is recognizing Sahadi for his exemplary contributions in growing his family business as both an economic and community stronghold of the Avenue.
Sahadi’s anchors the Middle Eastern commercial enclave that flourishes along Atlantic Avenue between Court and Hicks Streets and includes restaurants, food and music stores, and the Damascus Bread and Pastry Shop.
“A true ambassador of the Borough of Brooklyn, Charlie has helped to make Brooklyn an international destination and represented our community as both a cultural and business leader. Through Charlie¹s vision and hard work, Sahadi’s has become not only a major wholesaler with international influence but also top retail hub for other local businesses to build off and create a unique retail district where so many cultures and neighborhoods merge,” said Christian Haag, Atlantic Avenue LDC president.
In 1895, Sahadi’s great uncle Abrahim Sahadi operated A. Sahadi & Co. on Washington Street in lower Manhattan. Over 100 years later, Sahadi’s has grown to handle more than 2,000 quality foods.
Charlie Sahadi is the son of Wade and Najla Sahadi, who established Sahadi Importing Company in 1948 on Atlantic Avenue. After attending Pace College, Charlie joined the business in 1963. Through Charlie and his brother Bob’s leadership and continuation of his parent’s legacy, a third Sahadi generation is now part of the business.
In 2003 Sahadi was recognized by Crain’s New York, which named him one of the 100 Most Powerful Minority Business Leaders. He was the recipient of the Brooklyn Heights Community Service Award and of the Lebanese Heritage Day Award established by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Sahadi also serves on the Advisory Board of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association.
The event will take place from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Roulette Theater, 509 Atlantic Ave. It will be catered by Cafe Catania and Sue Perette Restaurant with cocktails and beverages provided by Heights Chateau, Waterfront Ale House and Donna da Vine. For more information log on to www.atlanticave.org.