MOHAMMED ALI ELSAFADI
Mohammed Ali Elsafadi arrived in Canada in 1956 from the village of Lala,Lebanon, at the age of twenty-two. His reasons for coming to Canada included finding work,earning some money and hoping to provide for his family left behind in Lebanon. He was sponsored by Najeeb Rahall. He arrived by ship which docked in Halifax.The train would bring him to Edmonton.Mohammed came to Edmonton in the month of February and he had the opportunity to experience, for the first time, a cold Canadian winter.On his arrival in Edmonton, he knew little English and here he was greeted by Najeeb Rahall.With that little English,he was able to find a job with CNR, where he worked for five years.He, then, was laid off at CNR and a friend said that Mohammed should start selling fruits and vegetables. The selling of the fruits and vegetables was started and this selling would have him covering a sales distance of a fifty mile radius around Edmonton. His English started to improve thanks to the help of the workers at CNR, along with the customers he sold his items to. Mohammed would stay in the fruit and vegetable business for 35 years.Each year, however, he would take a three month break during the winter. He really loved dealing with his customers and a number of them still visit the El Safadi stores today.When he delivered his supplies,Mohammed was trusted completely by his customers. If they were not home, they would leave the door of the house unlocked and leave their order of what they wanted on the table and Mohammed would then leave the grocery order in the house. In 1986, Mr.Elsafadi had the opportunity to open a store. The store soon opened and the groceries could now be sold from this location.In 1991,Mohammed stopped selling outside of Edmonton.He told his customers that he had opened a store and soon they started buying from the store. As the business increased, Mr.Elsafadi began the expansion of his business, but he would still continue to deliver from house to house within Edmonton's city limits. He even supplied goods for weddings. In time, Mohammed would bring his sons,Ali,Anwar and Walid into the business. Today,numerous other family members work at the two El Safadi stores.Because of the success of their business,their children/grandchildren are able to go to university. Mohammed Ali Elsafadi encouraged his children/grandchildren to be well-educated,and well-educated they are. Seven grandchildren are into professions like pharmacy,engineering,nursing,medicine and business.Mohammed Elsafadi went through a number of hardships in his life and he had a desire to make life a little easier for the newer members of the family. He appreciates the fact that his children helped him out in the early days of their business where they looked after bookkeeping and tax forms which had to be completed. Mohammed believes that many young people today are not aware as to how the older people worked so hard to achieve what young and old have today.He loved selling fruits and vegetables and if he could live his life over, he would repeat his life mainly as the way it unfolded.Mohammed considers Edmonton like a bigger Lala. The Elsafadi family have made numerous contributions to the mosque, as well as the Edmonton Islamic Academy.They always believed in supporting their community. The family is full of determination to succeed and they made sure that they did not sit back and watch the world flow by without contributing something to it. It is hoped that the thirty-one El Safadi grandchildren will follow in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents.