Fifteen years after coming here from Bosnia, Vedad Alagic can say he’s made a good living for himself as an asset manager at US Bank.
But Alagic, 30, had a special reason to celebrate last week when the St. Louis Bosnian Chamber of Commerce officially opened the doors to its first office at 5039 Gravois Avenue.
The office will help Bosnians make connections between Bosnian businesses, the city, the state, and other businesses, Alagic said following the ribbon cutting March 27.
Bosnians, community leaders, politicians, business people and others came to the opening.
“The Bosnian community has made St. Louis their home in every respect,” Mayor Francis Slay said.
“St. Louis appreciates you, St. Louis is here to help you. St. Louis wants the Bosnian community to grow and prosper,” he said.
The St. Louis Bosnian Chamber of Commerce bought and rehabbed the former Stage Theatre building into 3,000 square feet of meeting and office space. It includes a Bosnian library, a photo historical tour of the Bosnian flight to the United States and other countries during and after the Bosnian War and a cultural center.
There are 50 of the approximately 5,000 photos of the siege of the Bosnian city of Sarejevo from 1992 to 1995 by Sukrija Dzidezovic, owner of the Sabah Bosnian newspaper, 5003 Gravois.
The group received $20,000 from the Neighborhood Facade Improvement program administered by the St. Louis Development Corp.
“This process has been going on for the past seven years,” said Ahmed Jakupovic, president of the St. Louis Bosnian Chamber of Commerce.
Jakupovic, owner of AMA Construction Management, and Sadik Kukic, owner of the Taft Street Restaurant, founded the chamber in 2004. It has 65 members.