By Ruben Avxhiu
Albanian-Americans living in Hartsdale or the surrounding area are able now to find a variety of products from their old country, thanks to a new local store.
“G & G Euromarket” opened on June 16th, 2018. A second of this kind, after the one that is operating in Yorktown Heights, NY since December 21st.
Illyria spoke to Jozefina Zadrima, co-owner and co-manager of the store , an Albanian-American with a long experience of 21 years in the retail business.
“We sell all kinds of goods imported from Europe such as Products from Ireland, Germany, Russia, Italia, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania but our biggest inventory is for our Albanian community and Eastern European in general”, she said.
The store is owned and run by two Albanian-American families, Luigj and Jozefina Zadrima and George and Ana Zadrima. Their families immigrated from Ulqin (Ulcinj) in Montenegro, although Jozefina says that the old origin of the family may be from the region of Mirdita in mainland Albania.
The variety of their customers matches that of their products. Besides local Americans, they see members of ethnic-communities hailing from the Balkans and all around Eastern Europe. The majority however are of Albanian origin.
The proximity to the Albanian Catholic Church Our Lady of Shkodra plays a great role here. An institution now in Albanian New York diaspora, the church led by Father Peter Popaj brings thousands of our compatriots every Sunday for the mass, community events, and social interactions. On their way back home, a stop at the store is always worthy.
Jozefina becomes enthusiastic when the church is mentioned. “Yes, we have a beautiful church, Our Lady of Shkodra and we are very proud of it”.
The church was also the deciding factor to determine the location for this new store.
“The reason why we picked this spot and main idea was to make it very convenient for our community to come and shop after church services”, Jozefina says. “And we have almost everything that an Albanian Household needs”.
After more than two decades in this business, customer satisfaction is what drives Jozefina in her work.
“The biggest joy is when you see customers from different nationalities, who get so excited by the discovery of products from their countries of origin. It brings them back home for at least a few moments while shopping in our store”.
She moved to the United States on September 10th, 1994, while her husband’s family arrived in New York City in 1971, when he was only 1 year old. They are grateful of the opportunities that this country has given them. However, they don’t forget their Albanian roots.
“We have two sons Daniel 16 and Eduard 11. We are trying to raise our boys with our Albanian traditions and values”, says Jozefina. The two Zadrima families can be found often in our community events, such as annual Albanian Heritage Day, etc.
”I am very proud and connected to my Albanian roots”, she says.