A look at one of Ypsilanti's long-time friendly rivalries

While the 2015 EMU Tournament of Eagles on campus continues with match-ups like Swoop vs. SEEUS, there has been one rivalry that has stood the test of time on the corner of Ballard and Cross.

Eagles Market and Tom’s Party Store have been mainstays in the area for a very long time.

For about 20 years Sam Kasijm has been making a living at the green-painted Tom’s Party Store with the belief that hard work and passion for the community keeps his faithful coming back for more.

Across the street is Paul Ajlouny’s Eagles Market, a place that has undergone many changes since its opening in the early 70s.

Both owners agree that having a competing store across the street is good for business.

“It makes you want to keep improving the business. It prevents complacency,” said Eagle Mart’s Ajlouny.

Even though both owners are trying to earn a living, both of them insist that there’s no rivalry between the stores or each other.

While both stores have many convenience items such as candy, cleaning supplies and beer for those over 21, each store also offers something a little different. Eagles Market sells hard liquor whereas Tom’s mainly sells beer and wine. Tom’s also sells wearable merchandise including a black “Turn Up @ Tom’s” t-shirt.

Tom’s also has a nice frozen food section for people in the area need to grab a quick bite to eat without having to travel too far from campus.

Ajlouny hinted that Eagles Market will be expanding on its grocery section too.

Both owners are passionate about interacting with customers and building relationships with the people of the area.

“They are the best. I love the Eastern students and I appreciate the business,” said Kasijm.

Ajlouny, whose Eagles Market store sold a million dollar lottery ticket last month, is also thankful for the community’s patronage.

Besides being helpful to the community, each store owner looks after the other. Whenever a shoplifting incident occurs, each owner will notify the other so they can be on the lookout for wrong-doers.

Ajlouny and shy cashier Mel, “Just Mel” as she would like to be called, reflected on a time when they experienced a shoplifting experience and a Tom’s employee got in his car and actually chased after the thief to try to get justice.

Who wins this match up?

With two passionate owners with passionate employees, it’s the EMU community that wins. You can’t go wrong with good people looking after each other. Just something that occurs daily on the corner of Cross and Ballard.

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