Salim “Sam” Hanna, Gilbert Convenient Mart owner, dies of COVID-19

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Salim “Sam” Hanna was a 10-foot-tall man in asmaller man’s body, his son Michael described. He wasn’t one to back down, even when he was face-to-face with four men trying to rob his liquor store, another son Mark added.

In 1994, Sam, a Chaldean immigrant from Iraq, opened Gilbert Convenient Mart, a shop that would later become known for its craft beer and hard-to-find spirits. He had a soft spot for dogs, having ten of them himself, and would tell customers he would rather see their dogs’ faces than theirs.

He was the kind of man who didn’t sugarcoat his opinions — if someone’s breath stank, he told them. His outspokenness sometimes led to public altercations, but also to respect, his family said.

“He was never afraid or scared of anything,” Michael Hanna said. “He spoke his truth. He was bigger than what he always was. It sounds like such a cliche thing to say. But my father, when people talk about David and Goliath, my dad was always the little guy fighting the bigger guy.”


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