After three years, Maude's Market (4219 Virginia Avenue; 314-353-4219) is closing. The market and CSA was a locavore's paradise in Dutchtown, but owner Maude Bauschard tells us she just couldn't make it work anymore.
"Essentially it plateaued. I never reached my goal of getting the number of CSA customers that I wanted to get," Bauschard says. "So at a certain point you just need to realize that it wasn't going to be viable anymore."
The CSA -- community supported agriculture -- actually ended in December, and Bauschard has been gradually selling off her inventory the last two months. Bauschard says she had great customer loyalty and a 70 percent customer retention rate, but ultimately it wasn't enough.
"I ran into a customer of three years the other night and she gave me a huge hug and said, 'I feel like I just went through a breakup,'" she says. "It was a great experience, but the community just couldn't support it with the number of customers I needed to keep it going."
Bauschard does own the building on Virginia Avenue, but she's not sure to whom she'll lease it. She says she'd be interested in a long-term tenant, but she also has some ideas for short-term leases to new small business who perhaps have an idea they want to try out.
Bauschard will still be involved in the Dutchtown community; she has accepted a new job as community district manager at the St. Louis Development Corporation, a nonprofit run by the city to stimulate economic development.
There is still some inventory to be had at Maude's, and Bauschard encourages people to call or e-mail if they're interested in buying some great local food in bulk. "If anyone wants really good deals on frozen berries, amazing local honey or Amish canned produce, I still have quite a lot!" she says. You can inquire about remaining inventory at 314-353-4219 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.