The little store that could

Berwyn's Taz Place, where good relationships are good business

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
Taz Khatib, manager of Taz Place mini market in Berwyn, seems to be on first name basis with everyone who comes in to the store at 6932 Windsor Avenue.

BERWYN – The first thing that strikes you is the street on which the little store is located. Streetlights, train station: Windsor Avenue has a look that says “welcome.”

Then you remember you need a lighter, or a box of cereal, or a cup of coffee, so you stop in at Taz Place, 6932 Windsor Ave.

Manager Taz Khatib looks you in the eye from behind the counter with a broad smile and says hello. The door opens, and “Joe” strolls in.

“Hey, Tazo, how you doing?”

“Hello Mr. Joe,” Taz says.

“Joe” buys a couple quality cigars, plunks down his cash and says “See ya later, Tazo.”

The scene is repeated often.

“Hi, Taz.”

“Hello, Sweetie.”

Everybody who walks in loves this guy behind the counter and knows him by name. Taz knows most of their names as well.

“I really like people a lot,” he said. “It’s part of my life. I know everyone in the neighborhood.”

Out looking for America? Here’s the American Dream, played out by a 44-year-old family man, who came to America Jan. 27, 1989, from Atara, Palestine. He’ll tell you how beautiful it is from where he came from, how there are flowers and roses everwhere.

“But I love America,” Khatib said. “My grandfather came here in 1912 – he and 13 guys from our village. He went back, but many of his friends stayed.”

The store opened three years ago in what had been a vacant storefront that once served as an insurance office.

Taz Place is one of those little stores, that by some sort of magic, seems to have whatever you may need.

Clean and neat as a pin, Taz Place has a lot of “roll your own” cigarette supplies and cigars, household paper and cleaning and products. There’s wide selection of cereal and canned goods, the kinds of things that someone could make a quick meal out of.

Cold pop, tea and water in the cooler, ice cream in the freezer, and salty snacks beckon you when you walk in. There’s a coffee bar as well, with an assortment of breakfast foods.

His dream is to expand some day to include a deli.

“A clean deli,” he said, “a place for people who appreciate clean service. I love food, I’m generous. I like to eat at generous delis.”

He has even picked out the Italian baker from where he would get his bread from, but he said for now that’s a secret.

Khatib comes from a family who are traditionally carpenters and builders, he said. But a life with hammer and saw in hand were not for him.

“I hated it, I split off,” he said.

At heart, Khatib is a businessman. And like any good businessman, he has become a part of the community that calls the Windsor Avenue neighborhood home.

“A good relationship is always good for business,” he said

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