September 17, 2018 (Chalmette, Louisiana): Upon opening an online clothing boutique in November 2015, Aniston Lane owners Mandi St. Romain Tregle and Merissa St. Romain Lopez quickly realized that they needed to expand to a physical location. Within a year, the sister duo opened their first location so that they could interact with customers and give shoppers the opportunity to see the merchandise. However, it wasn’t long before they developed plans to expand. “We outgrew our first location pretty quickly,” explained Tregle. “We knew that we could increase our sales by 50% or more if we had a frontage on Judge Perez.” Lopez echoed her sister’s sentiments, “Our customers love our new storefront at 1800 E. Judge Perez Drive. We're located at a busy intersection where people are passing on the way home from work, which is our busiest time of the day.”
(Above) Aniston Lane Clothing Boutique, located at 1800 East Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette, LA
Following Aniston Lane, there have been a string of businesses opening along the Judge Perez corridor in the heart of Chalmette. St. Bernard Parish is experiencing a significant increase in not only homebuyers but also residential new construction in 2018. This population increase is spurring growth on the commercial side as well. “St. Bernard Parish has seen a 33% increase in residential building permits issued alone year to date,” explains St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation Executive Director, Andrew Jacques. “More individuals are moving into St. Bernard Parish and looking for places to eat, drink, and shop that are close to home. Jacques also discussed job growth at Chalmette Refining and the stabilization of the film industry which adds to St. Bernard Parish’s daytime population. “We continue to field interest from individuals looking in the area for the perfect spot to open their next venture and expand their business.”
Paul Dauterive was one of those individuals who reached out when searching for a location for his restaurant, Pauly D’s Cafe. Dauterive is a former corporate chef for Blooming Brands in Tampa, Florida and the Chef Partner for Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Metairie. “After 20 plus years of working with Outback Steak House, I wanted to do something a little closer family,” explains Dauterive. “I grew up in New Orleans East, but St. Bernard has become home. Both of my siblings live here and are raising their families here. Dauterive explained that when the time came, he contacted Mr. Jacques while searching for properties throughout St. Bernard Parish; “This is such a close-knit community. I knew it was where I wanted to be.” Pauly D’s Café, located at 2001 E. Judge Perez Drive, opened in early August and serving popular local favorites along with paninis, salads, and soups.
(Below) Paul Dauterive serves up po-boys, sandwiches, salads, soups, and daily specials at his restaurant, Pauly D’s Café.
According to Jacques, several businesses have expressed plans to open during the fall including Clean Course Meals. The meal prep startup company was the winner of the 4th Annual Startup St. Bernard competition in March 2018. Clean Course Meals plans to keep people active, healthy, and happy. “Clean Course is the answer to the increasing demand for healthy fast food and healthier lifestyle options,” said Kim Sawyers, owner of Clean Course Meals. Sawyers received her Masters in Public Health from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine before opening Clean Course Meals.
Sawyer and her team plan to expand their portioned meal business which currently offers convenient delivery, online ordering, and subscription options. Clean Course Meals also has plans to open a café and adjacent gym space in the same shopping center as Aniston Lane later this year. “We have what it takes to set the standard for healthy fast food and the ability to sustain in our evolving community,” explained Sawyers.