RICHMOND, Va. -- A beloved business along West Broad Street in Richmond is changing hands and the owner, Abbas Jahangiri, said it is bittersweet.
His family has been happily serving the community for almost two decades at Coliseum Deli and Market.
"I've been blessed to be here 18-and-a-half years," Abbas said.
His daughters grew up at the restaurant.
"They were working with me so that I didn't have to hire different people," he said, reminiscing about the early days of his business.
His wife has been his faithful partner in life and at the grill.
"I think I'm the luckiest person. I married a good wife," he said.
The family built the restaurant on kindness and generosity.
"The first thing you have to do is have faith with God and the second is to be happy," Abbas said. "When you are happy, your surroundings will be happy, and that's how we did it."
The atmosphere helped them develop loyal customers who have become like extended family.
"They call me uncle and they call my wife auntie and that's how we treat them. We were so blessed to have such wonderful customers," he said.
His customers came to help during one of the toughest moments of his career.
"Corona made a big obstacle for everybody," Abbas said, discussing the impact COVID-19 has had on his business.
In February, during a CBS6 Rebound Richmond interview, Abbas shared how the pandemic was crushing him. After the report aired, Abbas said things turned around for the better.
"It did help me. I got so many calls, so many people," Abbas said.
Coliseum Deli survived the pandemic with the help of the community. Abbas said that all is well and the restaurant is getting back to normal.
That was why deciding to retire this year has been bittersweet for him.
"We accomplished what I needed to accomplish," Abbas said.
After almost 20 years of building his dream, cooking with love, and giving from his heart, Abbas is hanging up his apron for good.
He is selling his business and starting a new chapter in life, which will likely include volunteer work.
"I don't just want to sit at home," he said.
He said he'll keep the memories created at the Coliseum Deli and Market and work with the new owners who take over the space.
"They are good people. I wish them lots and lots of luck, and lots and lots of happiness," Abbas said.
A job well done.
"A celebration of a new life for me," he said.
And hopefully many new adventures.
"Because I'm still young," he said.
Abbas officially retires on Saturday, September 25. The family plans to celebrate employees and customers on that day.
Watch Candace Burns' "Our RVA" reports Wednesdays on CBS 6 News at 4 and 6 p.m. If you know someone Candace should feature, email her at Candace.Burns@wtvr.com.
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