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Campus Eastern Foods asked to find a new location

Sunday, August 7, 2011 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
Campus Eastern Foods, currently on Locust Street next to the mosque, will be moving to 15 N. Fourth St., according to owner Youssef El-Tayash. The store is moving to make way for an expansion of the elementary Islamic School of Columbia.

COLUMBIA — Within weeks, Campus Eastern Foods will move a few blocks north. The store has occupied a space on Locust Street next to the mosque for more than 25 years.

Members of the Shura Council, board of directors for the Islamic Center of Central Missouri, asked the owners of Campus Eastern Foods to vacate the premises to make way for an expansion of the elementary Islamic School of Columbia.

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Youssef El-Tayash, who owns Campus Eastern Foods with his family, said the business would move to 15 N. Fourth St.

“It’s hard for me to move after all of these years, but … the school insists that they need the space,” he said.

The North American Islamic Trust owns the property of the Islamic Community Center, including the mosque, the school and the building where Campus Eastern Foods is housed, said Rashed Nizam, chairman of the Shura Council.

The Islamic Center's elementary school runs through fifth grade but plans to expand through eighth grade.

Nizam said the Shura Council handles local executive decisions of the property. On April 7, the council sent the store's owners a letter of notification to terminate tenancy by June 30.

Negotiations took place between El-Tayash's family, which owns the store, and the Shura Council over the terms of Campus Eastern Foods leaving the space. Both parties eventually reached an understanding.

El-Tayash said the new space downtown, which is in the same small shopping center as Columbia Credit Union, is four times bigger than the old location. 

“We can provide more variety, like fresh produce, fresh meat,” El-Tayash said.  “It’s not a very big supermarket, but at least has the essentials.”

The name of the store might change because it will no longer be close to campus.

El-Tayash said he was worried about the possibility of a new store opening in the space next to the mosque because his store was so established. 

“A lot of people got used to coming here, and they will think it’s the same business,” he said.

El-Tayash said the negotiations included a promise by the mosque of no new retail at the store’s former location. However, the long-term expansion project includes plans for retail and office space in another part of the complex.

Nizam said any plans to create retail space in the complex are in the distant future.


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