Come May 30th 2021, For the first time since 1984, Archway Market will have a new owner.
Asghar Mohammadi, (Oscar, more commonly) has been operating Archway Market for 38 years, along with his wife Shahla, and brother Hamid. The sale is in escrow and is depending on a smooth transfer of the liquor license, which should close on May 30th.
I asked Oscar what he intends to do with all his new free time, and after twiddling his thumbs at me for a moment he answered;
I will probably stay over there with Shahla. I’m not going to cash a check! There’s just too much here. It doesn’t matter how much money you got, you might have the million, two million, three million… One check like this (pointing to a bad check) will piss you off. That’s why I don’t do loans now. 99 pay, one doesn’t pay. It will mess you up.”Oscar
The “over there” he’s referring to is Big O Check Cashing at Watt and U Street, the other business owned by the family.
Cathy Thomas, who has manned the cash register for 37 years will be taking some time off before she decides what her next move will be.
“I’m going to take the summer off, and the new owners haven’t said anything about keeping me on, but I can’t see working for anyone other than Oscar.”Cathy Thomas
At 67 years old, Oscar says he feels fine, just old and stressed. His hands have been shaking for a couple of years now, and now his head has started shaking. He says when he’s typing he gets “2-for-1” on keystrokes.
The Archway Market property sits in the Gateway area of the Rio Linda Downtown Special Planning Area. It is zoned CMU, or Commercial Mixed Use. There are restrictions in the RLDSPA that limit what type of businesses can operate in the CMU zone, so the deal could get a bit rocky before it is consumated.
Asked how he feels about selling the business, he says he doesn’t like it, but it’s time.
“When it’s time, it’s time. What can you do? you stay another ten years and you die here? Not me.”
Photo credits: John Todd