About Us - Shaheen's Village Market
Welcome to Shaheen's Village Market. We are a family owned grocery store celebrating over 80 years in business, since March 6, 1935.
Malham Shaheen started the store in downtown Erie, Illinois, under the Royal Blue Food Stores banner. The Grand Opening ad shows a 49 lb bag of flour for $1.59, 3lb coffee for 47¢, pork & beans for 5¢ a can, and 2 packs of cigarettes for 25¢. Malham emigrated from Ain Ata, Syria (present day Lebanon) in the late 1800's, settling in Clinton, Iowa as a pack peddler and merchant. There he married Sadie Saad, also a native of Syria. Later they moved their family to the Tampico, Illinois area to take up farming before eventually settling in Erie, Illinois where they began the grocery store. Together, they had 10 children. “My dad, Ferris, used to tell this story,” Mark Shaheen says, “his dad (Malham) gathered the family...around the kitchen table and said ‘We're going to start a grocery store, and you are all going to work there. You see this around you, the room and board, that's what you're going to get. You're not going to get paid, but you are going to get room and board’”. This was a great learning opportunity for the family as most of the children went on to create businesses of their own.
Sons, Sol and Ferris Shaheen, took over ownership of the store after returning home from WWII and together in 1964 they built a larger building with state of the art equipment and relocated the store just around the corner from its original location, where it remains today. The store operated under the name Shaheen Brothers Royal Blue. In 1976, Sol passed away, leaving Ferris as the sole-proprietor. Two of Ferris' sons helped him to manage the store for many years to follow, during which time the store name changed to Shaheen's Super Valu. He then sold the store to its present owners, his son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Lesli Shaheen, who together purchased the business in 2001 and changed the name to Shaheen's Village Market. Mark is the third generation to continue operations of the family business. All in all, five generations of Shaheens and extended family have worked in the store. “If we can fit them in, they get a job,” Mark says, “It teaches life long skills”.
One of the grocery store's biggest draws is cut-to-order meat from our own and possibly northern Illinois’s only female butcher, Debbie Kay. Debbie has worked at the store for over 25 years and was trained by Ferris Shaheen. “She cuts meat like they did in the old days,” says Mark, “She only cuts USDA Choice”.
“We're a small town grocery,” Mark says, “ We still deliver groceries. We don't charge anything for it. It's mostly going to older people in and out of town. It's a nice service.” The store has always tried to give back where they can to help support the community. According to Mark, “Erie has been very good to my family.”
Although store has changed locations and the name on the banner several times over the years, you will find that it still remains "Shaheen's" - the place to catch up on community news and a local place to shop for your grocery needs with friendly service.