Yee’s Food Land

Yee's Foodland
605 Main Street
Lake Village, AR 71653
(870) 265-2730

After graduating with a degree in marketing at the University of Arkansas, Joe Dan Yee could have gone to Dallas, maybe gotten a job with a big department store there. He had already interviewed for a job and been accepted, but in the end, he gave all that up to go back home to Lake Village, Arkansas, to take over the store his father built with his brother, Joe-Joe. He has never looked back.

Hanging above the checkout lanes of Yee’s Food Land, you can find an aging photograph of three generations of the Yee family. There is the father and mother who started the store back in the early fifties and the children who run it today.  For over sixty years, the Yees have owned and operated a grocery store in the Arkansas Delta town of Lake Village. The town may have changed around them, but the Yees still pride themselves on the same hometown service that has kept them in business for so many years.

What has also remained unchanged is the family’s commitment to preserving their Chinese heritage. Both Joe Dan and his siblings can speak Cantonese, something his parents insisted they learn growing up. And twice a day you can find them all eating a hot, multi-course Chinese meal (all prepared by his sister, Xing) in the back of the their store. Joe says his mother, who is 96, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Date of interview:

August 25, 2010

Interviewer:

Jung Min (Kevin) Kim

Photographer:

Jung Min (Kevin) Kim

Yee Food Land - Joe Yee and Joe Dan Yee - Chinese Grocers in the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta
I can't tell you how many times I’ve been in New York and Chinatown and San Francisco, and everywhere I go they would tell my sister, “Bring your brother back in here. We love the Arkansas accent that he has on a Chinese accent.” So I get a big kick out of that.

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