'There are no support networks here'

  • Aldona Sobiecki

    Janusz Drozdz photo

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Aldona Sobiecki moved to Chicago from Warsaw, Poland, 18 years ago, then traveled farther west to Breckenridge, Colo., in 1996. Six months ago, she opened a deli that features Polish food. Aldona Sobiecki:

"For me, since I open here, it's hard to find help. Everywhere you go there are (help) wanted signs on the door. My cousin lives and works with me. The first year I was here, you have no idea how packed my house was. Polish friends were always staying with me until they could find another place to live.

"When I moved here, there was a nice organization that tried to help, but it didn't work. Polish people don't put money back into the organization. There are no support networks here. Polish people aren't very nice to each other.

"The Polish community buys what they need here. I sell special sausage, knish, pierogies, and stuffed cabbage. There are about 200 Polish people that live in Summit County; it amazes me. As soon as one Pole goes some place, everyone follows."