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BACK BAY

EAST BOSTON

by Kevin Ford

 

- Across the Harbor, a slice of El Salvador.

- Miguel Andrade: A real estate pioneer

- Benevides' treasure

- Achieving the American dream

Miguel Andrade: A real estate pioneer

Jaquelin Grocery, 129 London St., owned by Miguel Andrade for 13 years.

Miguel Andrade was among the first generation of Salvadorans to move to Boston. Now he is enjoying the fruits of his investments. After years of working as a cook at various restaurants, he moved to East Boston in 1990 and bought the Jaqueline Grocery Store on London Street. Now, he owns the building the store is in, plus his own house and three other houses in the neighborhood.

Andrade, 48, was working as a cement layer in El Salvador when he, his wife and his three children immigrated to Dorchester in 1981. "I didn't have a very good job down there," he says.

He worked as a cook at various restaurants in the Harvard Square area. After eight years of working and saving, his wife suggested he open his own store.

Andrade found a former beauty salon that was up for sale on London Street in East Boston. After refurbishing it, he opened his new grocery store in 1990 and rented out the apartments above it.

Seeing the profit that could be made and taking advantage of the then-low prices for property, Andrade bought a house for his family in 1990, plus three others over the next 12 years. "I wanted to invest my money in something," he says. "This seemed like a good idea." He says he has never had to advertise, as word-of-mouth in the Salvadoran community keeps a steady flow of tenants to rent out the rooms.

Andrade bought his last house two months ago. "It's getting too expensive now," he says. "This will be my last."

Andrade gained his citizenship in 1992. His wife is currently applying. All three of their children are grown and out of the house now, but the Andrades are staying put.

"We've been here a long time now and never had a problem," says Miguel. "It's just me and my wife now. We're not going to move."

KEVIN FORD

GO...

HEAR IT

- cumbia

SEE IT

- Topacio restaurant

- Exotic El Salvador

- The El Salvador flag in storefronts

LINK IT

- The web site of East Boston

- East Boston demographics from the Mauricio Gaston Institute [in .pdf]

- Info on the Salvadorian civil war

- The Salvadorian consular offices in Boston

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