Owners to Sell Downtown Circle After Adi’s Deportation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The owners of Downtown Circle and Hookah announced today they are selling the convenience store and attached lounge, about seven months after co-owner Al Adi was deported.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Fidaa Musleh, Adi’s wife, said she and her family made the “bittersweet” decision to sell. The couple have four daughters.

“I will be joining my husband overseas as we continue our lives there. We would like to thank all our patrons through out the years, those who supported all our businesses, who made us part of the community, who embraced us,” Musleh wrote. “You all have been the most beautiful part of our journey and we will never forget you.”

Adi, also known as Amer Adi Othman, had been at the center of a dispute with U.S. immigration officials for more than a decade. In early January, Adi and Musleh had been prepared to voluntarily leave the county when he received a stay of deportation.

Less than two weeks later, Adi was taken into custody during what was expected to be a routine check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices. He was deported to his native Jordan on Jan. 29.

The Facebook post did not identify who was buying the business, which opened in 2011.

“My husband and I have always had a vision for Youngstown. We’ve always seen the potential and the heart of this city,” Musleh said in the Facebook post. “Our wish for Youngstown is that it continues to grow, flourish and become the place we all know it can be. Thank you for everything.”

Adi’s plight drew national headlines, including a nationally televised confrontation between U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, who was involved with efforts to fight the deportation, and Fox News host Tucker Carlson when the congressman chose to leave his guest seat at the State of the Union address open in recognition of Adi.

Ryan said this afternoon he understood Musleh’s desire to be reunited with her husband.

“I am sick that our community is losing another talented businessperson and community leader. Fidaa was Amer’s partner in every sense of the word,” he said. “Our community is continuing to be torn apart because of a culture of hate that has overcome the leaders of our government.” 

Members of the downtown community lamented the circumstances surrounding the sale.

“Losing a family that was so invested in the revitalization of downtown is disheartening, but to see it being sold instead of simply closed is great news,” said Sarra Mohn, president of Jet Creative in Boardman and a founder of the Downtown Youngstown Partnership.

Responding to Musleh’s Facebook post, Jim Cossler, entrepreneur in residence at the Youngstown Business Incubator, lamented the family’s treatment at the hands of the current administration. He also expressed his gratitude for their work on the city’s behalf, especially the “most needy” of its residents. Each thanksgiving, the Adi family gave away hundreds of free meals.

“I really don’t think people fully appreciated what Al and Fidaa meant to downtown development,” he said in response to a request for further comment. “I know firsthand that others gained the faith to make what at the time was a somewhat risky downtown investment, as they saw YBI’s growth and success here. The same can be said of their early investment here.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.