Yue-Wah Oriental Foods closing after providing different cuisines for 40 years
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - It’s the end of an era for a south side grocery store.
From 1983 to 2023, this store has provided a variety of items to make cuisines from different countries.
For 40 years, Kien Ma owned Yue-Wah Oriental Foods in Madison. After he graduated from UW-Madison he decided to buy the business which was only 1,000 square feet. Born in Vietnam, Ma knew the community needed a grocery store that reminded them of home.
“We started as Thai and Chinese food first and we explain slowly to Indian food, Mexican food, Caribbean, Philippines and Indonesian, Middle Eastern and African food,” Ma said.
The store is closed for only one day out of the year, but it hasn’t stopped Ma from staying on top of his inventory and taking care of the store’s needs.
“It’s not that bad after a while you get used to it. Even on my day off I still come in and work,” Ma said. “I just take it easy, don’t have to get up early. In the afternoon, don’t have anything to do. Come here and work on the computer.”
Ma has limited staff. His wife was his business partner before she passed away.
“Basically, I am the only person stocking the shelves, I’ll do ordering even when my wife was alive,” Ma said. “She did some order, but I did most of the main order.”
The south side store was the center of Ma’s life and a staple for so many others.
Ma says the store will close some time in August. He says he is not sure what is next, but he plans to spend more time with his daughter and son.
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