CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s been several weeks since Bassam Naoum, the popular owner of a Chicago convenience store, was murdered.
Naoum was shot to death inside Munchies in the old Cabrini-Green neighborhood. His widow had doubts about keeping the store open.
But as CBs 2’s Jim Williams reports, she’s taking on the challenge in a lasting tribute to her husband and to serve his loyal customers.
It would be a difficult job for anyone, taking over a convenience store with no experience balancing the books, ordering product or even operating the cash register.
And making it an even greater challenge for Phoebe Naoum: Her husband was shot to death at the store last month.
“We’re dealing with this situation as best we can,” she says. “It’s hard. I’m not going to hide that.”
Yet Phoebe is doing it because this was her husband’s life’s work.
“He devoted literally all of this time to it,” she said. “I couldn’t see it just disappear. That would have been just a waste.”
By all accounts, Bassam, who was known as “Ollie,” was devoted and generous to his customers, many of whom were public housing tenants.
Days after Bassam’s murder, a candlelight vigil drew so many people, police closed the intersection outside the store as people chanted his name.
It was that kind of affection that has given Phoebe Naoum determination to stay in business.
“It was a wonderful experience, and it took some of the sting and the pain from the whole situation,” she says.
She plans to make some changes at the store, replacing the coolers and freezers and adding a deli counter.
Police have not made any arrests in the case. Naoum is asking for the public’s help to find her husband’s killer.