Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket

Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket, April 2011 (photo by Jimaya Gomez)

2075 N Dobson Rd, Chandler

            By the 1950’s there were a number of Chinese-owned grocery stores in Phoenix, AZ that reached up to 200 grocery stores.[1] Now, Leelee’s Oriental Supermarket is one of only 10 Asian Supermarkets that are located in the Phoenix area. Leelee’s is located the Northeast corner of Dobson and Warner Rd in Chandler, Arizona and it is the largest international food market in Arizona. The Supermarket carries foods that’s categorized in the following sections: Thai, Lao, and Cambodian, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Middle East, South America, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Jamaica, and the Caribbean, Philippines Indonesia, Holland, Malaysia, and Singapore, and Japan Korea, China, and Vietnam.I picked this location because Chandler has always had a large amount of Asian Americans, and I’ve always wondered why there’s so many in this area.
Chandler has a growing population of Asian American’s in the area and it is on the rise for the Asian-American community due to a technology business expansions. [2] According to the 2010 U.S. census data, the percentage of Asian people in Chandler has nearly doubled from 4.3 percent in 2000 to 8.2 percent in 2010.[3] That increase was the largest among any ethnic group in the city. Because of this increase in Asian-American population, a place like LeeLee’s supermarket in Chandler is sure to stay open and successful.
This area depicts inequality and white privilege because of the location is in the Southern part of Maricopa County. This site of inequality is a reminder to discussions, readings, and the movie Chinatown that was watched during week 9 in class. Suburbanization has been happening since colonization started, there has been a profound presence of whiteness, which has created non-whites to live in suburbanized areas. The documentary that showed Levitt Town gave a primary example of institutional segregation; white people stay with the whites, and the Latino’s, Asian Americans do as well and that’s why there are places like Chinatown.  Wei Li mentions reinforces this because she explains that there are pre-existing ethnic neighborhoods and networks that can attract people of different diversities to areas like Little Tokyo, Chinatown, and the Latino barrios in East Los Angeles.[4] In this case, there is the area of Chandler, AZ that holds a prevalent community of Asian Americans that live there because of employment/business opportunities as well as public markets like Leelee’s.
There is a connection that is still prevalent amongst Asian American Supermarkets in Phoenix. They’ve existed for a long time and are still here to serve the Asian American communities., regardless of businesses or expansions. There has been a substantial amount of Asian Americans have lived and will continue to live in Chandler.
- Jimaya Gomez and Pua Pedrina

[1] City of Phoenix, Asian American Historic Property Survey.
[2] Weldon B. Johnson, Chandler Proving to be a Mecca for Asians in Arizona, April 09, 2011, (April 24, 2011).
[3] Census
[4] Wei Li


Johnson, Weldon, B., Chandler Proving to be a Mecca for Asians in Arizona, AZ April 9, 2011, (April 24, 2011).

Census Bureau:

Li, Wei. “Spatial Transformation of an Urban Ethnic Community: From Chinatown to Ethnoburb in Los Angeles” (in Li, ed., From Urban Enclave, to Ethnic Suburb: New Aisan Communities in Pacific Rim Communities, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006, pp74-94)

Murray, V., Solliday, S, City of Phoenix, Asian American Historic Property Survey.
April 24, 2011, (April 24, 2011).        


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