CLEVELAND - We know this was an election of firsts, including a first lady born in Slovenia. Melania Trump is only the second first lady born outside the United States.
But did you know Greater Cleveland has the largest Slovenian population in the world outside of Slovenia? So you can understand why some Slovenians whose families settled in Northeast Ohio are gleaming with pride.
Frank Azman runs the meat market at the corner of St. Clair Avenue and East 65th Street. The pictures placed around the market tell the story and reveal a culture.
"The four boys went into the grocery and meat business,” said Azman.
Azman's grandparents settled in Lorain in the early 1900s. Frank's father and uncles opened this market shortly after. Then Frank started working here when he graduated high school.
“So I have been here since 1970,” said Azman.
Over the years, life piles up and between pictures, pork and peas lies politics and pride.
“Now please Melania,” said Azman. “Come over here and come into our little Slovenian pockets and mingle with us. Will ya please?”
Frank says sure it raises awareness about his ethnicity, but it also brings attention to businesses like his which sits in the heart of what once was Cleveland's thriving Slovenian community.
“There are all kinds of Slovenian vendors,” said Azman. “Some of us got to ship something to the White House."
But if that does not end up happening, this invitation remains on the table.
“Melania, please come visit our little Slovenian communities."
Cleveland’s Slovenian area still attracts cultural and religious events today. In fact, Slovenian musician, Vlado Kreslin, is traveling from Slovenia to Cleveland to perform at concert at the Slovenian National Home.
According to the Cleveland Historical, it is the largest facility of its type in the United States. It serves as the cultural center for this community. A community that spread into the suburbs leaving some to hold down the roots.