History: Eve’s Market

My pal, local activist and publisher Hilarie Schackai, got me in touch with Linda Van Aman who many remember as one of the two owners of Eve’s Market along with Claudia Dumestre. Eve’s took over the original Whole Foods Company site at Adams and Cohen and then moved to Freret for a few years before closing in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

Here is a bit of that history she shared:

I worked at Whole Foods Company from 1981-1987, mostly at the Esplanade store, first as a grocery stocker, then as department manager, then in upper management.  Somewhere in there, WFC opened a deli & grocery outlet in the Riverwalk mall, which was unsuccessful and closed fairly quickly (not sure about the timeline on that). In early 1987,Whole Foods Market was positioning itself to expand into Louisiana (their first foray outside of TX), and Peter Roy was going to sell them the Esplanade store and close the one on Cohn St.

Claudia & I thought the Cohn store was still very viable, and proposed buying it. Between us we had more than 15 years experience in the biz.

Eve’s Market had its grand opening on April Fool’s Day, 1987 (no fooling! great slogan we thought); we kept all WFC employees who wanted to stay. The name came from a group of friends in a brainstorming session before our takeover — the “market” part came first, then someone said: “Eve’s on Adams” (the corner street). We also wanted to honor our mothers, who had helped fund the takeover deal, and Eve is the mother of us all. Thus Eve’s Market was born. We had a great run on Cohn St., until the landlady was going to sell the building. Our future there was uncertain, plus the building was very old & in need of repairs & renovation. After a lot of shopping around, the Freret St. location was suggested by a community development agency that had offices there. Eve’s moved to 4601 Freret St. in the spring of 2001, into a newly renovated space. 9/11 caused people to stop shopping as much for a while (and when) Whole Foods Market opened on Magazine Street in 2002, seriously eroded our customer base. All Natural Foods, a small store near Arabella Station, closed soon thereafter. We tried to refocus as a locally-owned small business, but eventually put the building & business up for sale, though we stayed open until Hurricane Katrina flooded the area in 2005. In the aftermath, the building was bought and became Zeus’s Place.

Some other asides from Linda:

We worked with Food Not Bombs to donate excess food to them, and bought from several local farmers consistently through the years, and had a great rapport with our regulars. •The founders of the food co-op met with us when our building was up for sale to consider it as a space for their store, but nothing came of that (too soon, maybe?). •The natural foods industry changed drastically as WFM expanded & bought up independent stores across the country. Manufacturers, who had supported small independent brokers and stores, began to change the rules to favor larger stores & distributors. Stores like ours could no longer get competitive deals.

Preservation In Print (2001)

Author: DW

New Orleans resident, writer, activist. Public market consultant.

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