• Elsie Hernandez

With Owners Like Alex Sam From “Sam’s Deli”, The Spirit Of Bodegas Will Never Get Lost In New York C

When I was a child my parents used to send me to the "Bodega" with a list of groceries. If you grew up in New York City, you would know that the local corner grocery stores are called "bodegas", a Spanish term used by the natives. If you live in Glendale-Queens, you would also know the owner of "Sam's Deli" , Alex Sam. This bodega, like over the 1,000 others in New York City are honored by their communities. It doesn't matter what borough you are from, when you enter a bodega you can’t help feeling welcomed. Just like when you walk into Sam’s Deli, it’s almost like being home, even if your home is all the way across the country. Sam and his friendly staff keep the store open to the people, keeping this store among many in New York, the blood line of the neighborhoods. A place where people not only go to buy food and stuff, but also get to chat with the guy at the counter or the stock boy that was given a job just to stay out of trouble. So popular, that supermarkets have not been able to put them out of business. This interview is so inspiring to SkysOcean, because Sam is keeping the spirit of the bodega in this city alive, in a neighborhood that keeps changing in a world that revolves so quickly. This always proves to us that love conquers all.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Yemen and grew up in Woodhaven, Queens. Where my dad himself owns our original deli since 1980.

How many years do you have Sam's Deli?

Sam's Deli has been here in Glendale for 12 years now.

What inspired you to follow your father's foot steps?

My family and I we like like the business, we into the business.

What are the challenges of owning such a popular store in this neighborhood?

Just do the right thing by the customer. You know, when we get a customer we treat them like family. So they come in they share something and If they want credit in food that's no problem, but when they want credit for cigarettes and beer that’s when there's no knowledge for that.

So, you are family oriented.

You have to be, because when the customer shows you love, you have to give them love too. Without the customer you cant’ live, so how are you going to survive. You know what I mean, so you have to do the right thing by the customer.

And you are doing the right thing because you are very popular in this neighborhood.

Thank God, Yes.

How many people work at this store and how many hours are you open?

Six people work in this store and we are open 24 hours.

How many hours do you work here?

I work ten to twelve hours and go home to my family.

What is the most popular thing you sell at Sam's?

Sandwiches. We make the best sandwiches around. You do the right thing and the customer loves them and that's it, because we make them the way you like it. So whatever you ask for, we make it the way you want it. We have several combos on our menu that we offer and the customer can always change it.

What is life to you?

Life is beautiful. You have to love everyone. No matter what is your religion, you have to show respect to everyone. So this way they can respect you as well. In the end of the day we all have the same way of believing and thinking. Do Good in life, don’t harm nobody, don’t steal from nobody and you will be good.

Besides owning a bodega what do you like to do on your time off?

With the kids, we like to go to the park. Forest park that’s where we grew up. Since I have had the business, the best thing we do is stay busy with the neighbors and community. We support a lot of old people in our neighborhood, especially the ones that live by themselves, those are the ones we go check on. But the thing is when I’m off I hang out with my family. My kids keep me busy.

What a wonderful interview. Sam is definitely a great guy and his bodega brings a lot of the community together. So go check out his store on. His sandwiches really are the best in the neighborhood! At the end of our interview he offered me a Snapple. Thanks Sam!

Sam's Deli is located on 61-20 Myrtle Avenue, Glendale/Ridgewood, New York.

(718) 381-8541