(KPIX 5) – After more than four decades, three brothers will retire from their popular corner store in San Francisco at the end of October.
The Roxie Food Center has remained a Mission Terrace cornerstone where you could get a sandwich made-to-order and pets get a treat outside. But now, its owners, brothers Peter, Simon, and Tony Tannous are retiring after 45 years in business. “It’s time for us to hang our apron,” said Peter Tannous, the oldest of the three. Peter has multiple sclerosis, and as his brother Tony said, they’re all ready for a break from the long, seven-day work weeks. “It’s time to relax a little bit,” said Tony Tannous.
The three siblings emigrated from Amman, Jordan. In the 1970s, the bought their building at the corner of San Jose and San Juan avenues. “It meant a lot to us. We came to this country, 1973. American dream,” Peter said. They’ve made a living making the best sandwiches they could. “It comes out of the heart,” said Tony.
Retired Ingleside station police captain Joseph McFadden says each of the brothers is best known for his big heart. “Most generous guy I’ve ever met in my life,” McFadden said to Peter outside the store. Peter replied, “It’s our pleasure, always.”
Simon Tannous said when the brothers grew up in Jordan, the neighborhood families were close. “We had this sense of community. We really wanted to bring it here,” he said.
And they have. For more than 30 years, the Tannous brothers have fed hundreds of people at their annual Fourth of July picnic and parade across the street at Balboa Park. The trio has also given away Thanksgiving meals, hosted Easter egg hunts, and donated food for community events. They’ve had a lot of volunteer help, too, the brothers added.
At one point, Peter coached a team to keep loitering kids out of trouble. And Roxie’s walls are filled with photos of various sports teams the siblings have sponsored, from Little League, to Balboa High, to City College. “They all know us by name. It became more of a family,” Simon told KPIX 5.
Friend James Griffin recently saw Simon give away groceries to an unemployed customer who didn’t have enough money to feed his family. “He put it in the bag and said, ‘It’s on us today.’ The guy walked out and said, ‘These guys are special people.’ I said, ‘Absolutely,'” said Griffin.
The Tannous brothers sold their business to their cousins, Mike Zunoona and Mick Shehadeh. Shehadeh says they plan to keep all of the employees, who number about 10, and continue the family legacy. “We’re not going to change anything. Why change a good thing?” said Shehadeh.
And Peter, Simon, and Tony Tannous said they’ll still visit the store now and then. But only when the retirees are not sandwiching their hours between rest, travel, and spending time with their family that totals 10 children and two grandchildren.
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