] Around Columbia: February 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Campus Eastern Foods

Located at 408 Locust Street , close to our community's mosque, is Campus Eastern Foods which has been open since 1983.

It was purchased by the current proprieter, Dr. Youssef Eltayash, in 1987.

Youssef is originally from Libya. He has five sons ranging in age from 16 - 34 years of age with one grandson. Per tradition that first grandson is named after his paternal grandfather.

When he came to America, to our community, he needed a way to earn a living for him and his family while he pursued his studies. He purchased the store to provide an income and ran it while attending Mizzou. He eventually not only earned his masters degree but also a PhD in civil engineering. He was a father, graduate student, and operated the store all at the same time.

In 1994 he and his family expanded their business enterprises opening Casablanca restaurant which is located at 3907 Peachtree Dr. Columbia, MO.

Besides being involved in business Dr. Yousef is currently an assistant professor at Lincoln University in their pre-engineering program.

The pictures below are a virtual tour of his store and the different goods you can find there:

I have shopped at Campus Eastern Foods for years. It is relatively convenient to where I live and where I work. I go there for Middle Eastern food specialties that are either not available where I normally shop, are not of the highest quality, or which are fantastically overpriced. Among the items I shop for at Campus Eastern Foods are olive oil, red lentils, condiments, rice, couscous, and various spices. For example, couscous which is so overpriced at the supermarkets is purchased by Campus Eastern Foods in bulk and repackaged at a reasonable price with great quality. The store also sells Indian and Eastern European goods. Want to make an Indian dish using ghee but don't want to clarify the butter yourself? Campus Eastern Foods sells ghee. Below are some detailed pictures of what you can find on the shelves:

Not only do I like shopping here for hard to find or specialty items I like doing business with a locally owned and operated family business. I also like going there and seeing the same faces of people who know me, and the fun stuff on the shelves. I also like something else. Campus Eastern Foods, along with Youssef Eltayash and his family, is in many ways the quintessential American story of the accomplishments of hard work, vision, and optimism.