I'm a business owner, predominantly in the Subway business. I've owned and operated Subways for the last 34 years.
We built this building back in 2002, shortly after 9/11. This used to be a Tastee Freez. I chose this location because there are two universities here and typically sandwich places do well around universities. There’s a lot of walk-in traffic due to the universities and the schools.
I grew up in Chicagoland. I came to the United States when I was ten years old and my first stop was in Hammond, Indiana, for 5th grade. My parents sent my brother and me for education to the states. Then we moved to Saint Charles. I went back to visit my parents and you know, they wanted us to just come back and stay there and we just could not adjust. So we convinced them to come back and move. They came back with us and we stayed in the Glendale Heights area. Elementary, middle school, and high school were all in different places, but Chicagoland is my home. And because I work in the city and the majority of my life I've been in the city of Chicago working, to me that's home. I actually don't live nearby. I live in the suburbs and I do have stores that are nearby and my office is in downtown Chicago. So I'm here quite a bit.
I was born in Bangladesh. I speak Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, and English. I have 4 kids. I have older kids, 24 and 25, and then I have two little ones that are 9 and 11. So they keep me young. I'm blessed.
Two things have surprised me. One, I did not know that there was an association for this neighborhood. After 20 years, I found out that there was an association. What surprised me the most was, given that there are two universities, typically you see a lot of students here, but not just students — I see a lot of diverse families that live within the neighborhood. And they have kids, they're raising families here, which I didn't know. I just thought that it would be younger people living here, either students or younger millennials. But I see kids and adults of all ages that are living in this community.
And we're very happy here. I mean, we've had stores that we have sold within five years. And then we have a few stores that we've kept for years and years. And that's all related to either the business we're doing and the safety in the area or the opportunities within the area. And we feel that this is a great opportunity and it's a very safe area.
[Fazal owns the building on the corner of Foster and Kimball, adjacent to the Subway. He has requested a zoning change in order to build an apartment building there.]
I think the community meetings have really taught us something. I am very happy about adding parking because I do understand that there's a shortage. Given that we are in an urban area, this is a transit oriented development where you don't need parking. You can just take the train, take the bus. But I feel by adding the parking, it's becoming a huge asset for us because there's a demand for it. There are people in the area that want parking.
I'm blessed to be where I am today and I'm happy that I'm choosing this neighborhood, not just because I see an opportunity, but I'm choosing to build here because I've been here and I love the neighborhood.
Murad Fazal was interviewed by a neighbor in February of 2023.