Immigrant business enterprises - Kentucky - Louisville
A.J. Thomas describes life in the late 1940s until the early 2000s in Louisville, Kentucky’s Haymarket, a near-downtown retail and wholesale meat and produce sales and distribution center. He discusses the operation and growth of a family-owned meat market on East Jefferson Street between Floyd and Preston Streets founded by his father, a Lebanese immigrant. Thomas vividly describes the crowded covered sidewalk in front of the small business storefronts where produce vendors operated as well as the mostly “victimless” crime that occurred there. In addition, he recalls the relationship and entrepreneurial spirit among the several ethnic and religious groups who either owned or worked in the market. Finally, Thomas describes the changing retail and wholesale customer base that led his family business to ultimately develop into a regional institutional meat distributor. The backdrop for his recollections of course is the transformation in the early 1960s through the Urban Renewal of the “old” Haymarket into a “modern” form – subsequently demolished.