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    New Hampshire C-store Celebrates New Beginnings

    A dedication ceremony will be held today for a new storefront mural created by a customer.

    CONCORD, N.H. -- New owners took over a convenience store here in June and now, with the help of a customer, the location is celebrating new beginnings through a mural running the length of the front of the business, as well as a name change for the store.

    According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, the artwork shows a figure breaking free from chains set upon a background of swirling reds and golds. The mural was created by Saad Hindal, an Iraqi refugee living in Concord.

    Hindal approached the new owners of the store, Darrin Faraj and his wife Ikhlas, about painting the mural. Faraj, a Pittsburgh native, and his wife, a Palestinian immigrant who came to the United States in 1992, bought the Concord Farm store in June.

    "He had been a customer of the store, and came up with the idea. I had been wanting to paint the outside of the building, to improve looks, and when he gave me a sketch of his idea, I looked at it and said, 'Yes,'" Faraj told the newspaper.

    The owners said today's dedication event and the mural both are designed to symbolize a theme of rebirth and new beginnings. The dedication will include free coffee and the chance for guests to meet the artist and the new owners. Hindal will say a few words as well, according to the news outlet.

    The owners will also mark the event by changing the name of the store to Red and Gold. Those colors have personal meanings to the Faraj family as they signify the warmth and richness of their welcome into the Concord community.

    "We have had all positive responses," Faraj said of the new storefront. "Everyone who comes in makes a comment about the painting."

    Although specially designed for the storefront, Hindal explained that the painting represents his own new beginning. He moved to New Hampshire with his family two years ago from Baghdad.

    "His vision, because he is from Iraq, is about coming to America -- him getting his freedom," Faraj said. "On the mural are symbols from his culture, and it also integrates symbols of freedom in the United States, such as the Statue of Liberty and Old Man of the Mountain. There is a body breaking free of chains and doves flying out of a cage. As you go down, the mural gets more into cultural symbols, like old oil lamps and ... a (woven) carpet."

     

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