StayLocal’s NOLA Know-How To Showcase ‘Survival Of The Fittest’

         Evie Poitevent, owner of Feet First Stores, is proud to sell local and source local.

         “We make a very conscious decision at Feet First to stock and showcase local designers in our stores,” she said. “We hire all local service providers too, from our bank to our security company. Sourcing locally has a positive economic impact on the city of New Orleans and a community-building impact on for our local, family-owned business, our designers and our customers.”

         Poitevent’s parents opened the first Feet First in an old neighborhood grocery store on Maple Street. After Hurricane Katrina, she stepped in to lead the business, with 2 locations, a robust social media presence, and a new, streamlined website with an accompanying Amazon store, and is now celebrating its 40th year. Feet First has been voted “Best Shoe Store in New Orleans” by Gambit Weekly readers 7 years in a row, and is considered New Orleans’ largest independent retailer of women’s shoes, handbags, jewelry, accessories and local New Orleans designers.

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         On Thursday, June 16, 2016, Poitevent will present “Complacency Kills: Resilience & True Grit in the Face of Challenge” at StayLocal’s NOLA Know-How, a showcase of area business-to-business (B2B) businesses featuring TED-style talks by local business thought leaders based on the theme “Survival of the Fittest.”

         At Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market, 1436 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.,  from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., StayLocal, Greater New Orleans’ nonprofit independent business alliance and a project of the Urban Conservancy, will host a resource fair and 5 speakers who will share how they adapted to changing markets and consumer landscapes without losing sight of their passion.

         An anticipated crowd of more than 150 is expected to attend.

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         “New Orleans’ independent businesses are the backbone of the city’s culture, economy and character,” NOLA Know-How organizer and StayLocal interim program manager Meredith Cherney said. “If you want the insights only experience can teach you, this is an event you don’t want to miss. From banking, accounting and web design to background checks and payroll providers, New Orleans has so many local service provider options. This event aims to raise the profile of these businesses and help business owners take advantage of our local knowledge base.”

         According to StayLocal’s 2016 Independent Business Trends Report, New Orleans’ local businesses are facing mounting pressure from online retailers, national chains and rising commercial rents, and to attain and sustain success, business owners need to innovate and evolve.

         NOLA Know-How is tailored toward business owners and entrepreneurs and is free and open to the public interested in learning from successful local leaders. The talks and resource fair are the culmination of StayLocal’s Source NOLA initiative, a summer-long campaign encouraging businesses to switch to a local service provider in some area of their business. Cherney said, through Source NOLA, StayLocal aims to better connect business owners to the local resources in New Orleans and raise awareness about the ways businesses can better engage with their local economy.

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         “Just as many of New Orleans’ locally owned businesses are handed down from generation to generation, so too are business recommendations passed along, word-of-mouth, from mother to daughter, father to son, friend to friend,” Cherney said. “In most U.S. cities, shopping is an impersonal experience and transactions are purely financial. Not so in New Orleans, where your haircut comes with a history lesson, your contractor is a font of culinary wisdom, and the cab driver giving you a lift today may be the musician you go out to see tonight.”

         “Study after study shows us that dollars spent at local businesses have greater economic impact than dollars spent at a national chain store due to the multiplier effect,” Cherney said. “When you spend money at a local businesses, they in turn spend that money throughout the local economy at a much greater rate than national chains. Our local businesses are consumers as well, and when they source locally for products and services they strengthen the crucial links that keep our local economy strong.”

         NOLA Know-How’s speakers will include:


• Lauren Anderson

Lauren C. Anderson Coaching and Consulting Services, LLC 

“Change: Embracing and Creating it in Our Lives and Business”

         Anderson served as CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans from 1993 through 2013. She demonstrated leadership within the organization and the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by working with the Women of the Storm to successfully lobby Congress and revitalize the Freret Street commercial corridor.

         Anderson launched her business, Lauren C. Anderson Coaching and Consulting Services, to build upon her extensive experience in management, organizational development and training as a professional coach. Her executive coaching is designed to create a safe place for leaders to test assumptions, generate self-discovery and think strategically and proactively.

         Throughout her career, Anderson served on several boards including Christ Hospital (Jersey City), the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, the Kenmare School, Bureau of Governmental Research and the Committee for a Better New Orleans.

         Anderson is a founding advisory board member of StayLocal.


• Daniel Esses

Esses Foods

Three Muses

Dryades Public Market

“How to Stay in Business and Thrive in a Competitive Environment”

         Chef Esses cooks with a New Orleans soul. He combines his culinary spirit with years of experience to create innovative, enticing dishes that showcase the natural flavors of hand-selected, high quality ingredients.

         In New Orleans, Esses honed his skills in the kitchens of Chef Anne Kearney (Peristyle) and Chef John Besh (Restaurant August). He was the opening chef of The Bank Café, Executive Chef at Marigny Brasserie and is currently the owner of Esses Foods and Three Muses with Sophie Lee Lowry. 

         In 2016, Esses was named CEO of Dryades Public Market located on historic Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. With a dedicated team of partners, employees and vendors, Esses is helping to bring a much-needed grocery store filled with fresh, locally-sourced foods and a local hub for meetings and events to Central City and the New Orleans community-at-large.


• Michelle Ingram

Zeus’ Place

Freret Street Market 

         "In early 2006, I tore down my house, bought a blighted old grocery store, quit my well paying job and embarked on a journey to live out my lifelong dream of rescuing animals,” Ingram said. “What I didn’t realize is that I also would have to reach far beyond anything I ever learned in college to be a spark that helped rejuvenate an all but abandoned 8 block stretch of empty store fronts."

         Ingram grew up “down the bayou,” and like many kids, wanted to be a veterinarian. Ingram’s zeal for protecting and nurturing animals never faded, and after Katrina she opened Zeus’ Place with the vision of providing animal care to the pets of New Orleans.

         She worked with Dr. Gene Zeller at Maple Street Animal Clinic to shape Zeus’ Rescues, a nonprofit animal rescue that removes adoptable dogs and cats from local shelters to prevent them being euthanized.

         Ingram opened shop on Freret Street in early 2006 at a time when the street was largely abandoned. She worked with two fellow Freret Street property owners to create an art market on Freret Street that would set in motion the renaissance of Freret’s business corridor. September marks the start of the 10th market season for the Freret Market. The Market brings thousands of people to the neighborhood on the first Saturday of each month. 

         In 2009, Ingram and Greg Ensslen took over the Freret Street Festival. The Festival highlights the new and improved business corridor on the first Saturday in April.


• Richard Estrada

Crescent City Packaging

         “Survival of the fittest as the words imply is NOT survival of the biggest or strongest, but the fittest, fastest, and more flexible,” Estrada said.Size and tenure can work against you in the fast changing world of business. Small, agile, and focused can help you, not only ‘survive,’ but thrive in a very competitive business environment.”

         Estrada founded Crescent City Packaging in 2000. He saw a need for a supplier in New Orleans that could provide custom boxes and offer warehousing, distribution and custom packaging services.

         Crescent City Packaging started out as a regional supplier with 1 small warehouse, but is now a national supplier with more 150K feet of warehouse space and a presence in 3 states. They have been on the “Inc. 5,000 List,” an annual ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America, for 3 consecutive years and have been eligible 6 times.

         Crescent City Packaging is continuing to grow. They are adding more warehouse space and equipment to offer new, innovative solutions to their increasing and changing customer base. Plus, they are the only locally owned custom corrugated box company in New Orleans.

         The company’s philosophy of “giving the customer what they need when they need it” has been key to their success. Estrada said he does whatever it takes to get the job done, and his simple saying above is carried out every day in Crescent City Packaging’s operations.


• Evie Poitevent

Feet First Shoe Stores 

“Complacency Kills: Resilience & True Grit in the Face of Challenge”

         Established in 1977, Feet First is a dynamic retail chain devoted to being of service to others. Owner Poitevent said at the heart of their business lies a deep commitment to New Orleans and South Louisiana; a sincere gratitude and respect for customers and employees; and a desire for everyone who shops there to feel inspired and uplifted.

         With 3 locations on Magazine Street, Royal Street and Metairie Road, in Old Metairie, Feet First is New Orleans' largest independent shoe and accessories retailer and home to 50-plus lines of women's brand-name shoes, handbags, accessories, jewelry, fashion aids and apparel.

         Family-owned and operated, Feet First also stocks a wide variety of specialty items by popular local designers including Feelgoodz, NOLA Couture, Citizen Nola, Haybands, Saints for Sinners, Porter Lyons, Flying Fox, Root Sunglasses, Sarah Ott and Time Will Tell.



         B2B businesses are invited to set up a table, show off their services and network with area businesses seeking local service providers at the NOLA Know-How.

         Register for a table here.


         After the presentations, NOLA Know-How attendees will enjoy live music sponsored by the Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market.


         All attendees can also enter a raffle to win:


• 2 tickets to Gambit's Emerging Chefs Challenge, July 13th at The Cannery.

• 1-year StayLocal Membership

• Swag bag from Orleans Embroidery

• Exclusives from Feet First Shoe Stores


         StayLocal reps said this event is made possible by the support of LCI Workers Compensation, LCIA, Gulf Coast Bank, Xplore Federal Credit Union, Aquiana Springs, and the Urban Conservancy as well as partners Gambit and Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market.


         Register for the NOLA Know-How here or call (504) 252-1259.

         For more information


Lauren Anderson, Lauren C. Anderson Consulting Services, LLC


Daniel Esses, Esses Foods, Three Muses, Dryades Public Market


Michelle Ingram, Zeus’ Place and Freret Street Market


Richard Estrada, Crescent City Packaging


Evie Poitevent, Feet First



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