Following Eddie’s Market of Charles Village’s closure in December 2020, Streets Market filled its vacancy on St. Paul Street. Streets opened for business in June of this year.
Jesamine Lee, brand manager of Streets, explained in an interview with The News-Letter that she hopes the grocery store will be able to carry on Eddie’s tradition of close relationships with students and residents alike. She explained that the store prioritizes product, price and service.
“We’ve definitely been more diverse in terms of our grocery options,” she said. “There is a strong international community at Hopkins so we really focus on Asian grocery products and the basics of college life like instant ramen. But [we] also [focus on] providing healthy and fresh options like produce and ordering a lot of our items locally. We make sure we have really good variety so that when you go into our grocery store, you find everything you need.”
Although Streets does accept J-Cash, senior Garrett Kearney stated that the absence of a student discount at Streets Market makes it feel less like a University-based community market.
“Eddie’s used to give a 5% discount [to Hopkins students] on purchases above $15,“ he said. “It wasn’t a crazy discount by any means, but it just made it feel like it was a local place for Hopkins students.”
Senior Brody Silva, who was formerly a cashier at Eddie’s Market, feels that one of the major differences between Streets and Eddie’s is the reduction in quality of service.
“Eddie’s, being very much a part of the community, was always big on being friendly and having regulars,” he said. “Streets feels kind of ‘chain-y’. I haven’t had the same kind of experiences with cashiers or with managers.”
Kearney echoed Silva’s sentiments, noting how often the owner of Eddie’s would come to the store.
“Seeing the owner there most days and getting to know the people was cool,” he said. “You used to have conversations with them a lot of the time. It kind of had a close-knit-group feel.”
Lee emphasized that Streets is working on developing their community service impact.
“Street Market is a local, small business, so we want to make sure we are part of the community, whether that’s participating in school programs, where we donate 1%, or participating in neighborhood fairs,” she said.
Streets offers a selection of fresh produce and a variety of international foods. The store serves customers with various dietary needs; selections include many organic, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. The store also offers household essentials, including cleaning supplies and laundry products. Unlike Eddie’s, Streets no longer has a deli counter in the back of the market.
Silva recalled the deli’s popularity with students.
“[The deli] was very popular; it had all kinds of sandwiches and meats and macaroni salad and potato salad. It was a big draw — a lot of people came into the deli,” Silva said. “Streets has since gotten rid of the deli when they renovated. I heard there was at some point going to be plans to put one in again, but I think they just wanted a clean slate.”
Lee explained that the deli’s removal on the basis has opened up more space for grocery items. There was no indication that the deli or outdoor seating would be coming back anytime soon.
To improve its relationship with the community, Streets has implemented a customer request sheet. Lee stated the store is currently working on bringing more items students have requested, including pastry items and junk food.
“For students, we are trying our best to gauge what is needed,” she said. “It seems like they want fresh produce and more pastry items, which we’ve been trying to do.”
Silva also discussed the hiring management at Streets, reporting that the market did not rehire multiple longtime employees at Eddie’s and even one employee who was on track to become an assistant manager.
“A lot of the people who worked at Eddie’s before it closed reapplied to work at Streets when it opened, but Streets, to my knowledge, didn’t hire any of them,” Silva said.
The News-Letter reached out to representatives of Streets for comment on this claim but did not receive a response.
Lee remains optimistic that Streets will build a strong relationship with its community.
“Honestly, we want to make sure we’re there for the student community, and we’re really grateful for the support,” she said. “We want to do better. There’s room for improvement, and if there’s anything better we can do, we’re all ears.”
Jake Lefkovitz contributed reporting to this article.
Brody Silva is a contributing writer for The News-Letter. He did not contribute to the reporting, writing, or editing of this article.