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"The Little Market That Could" Reminds Folks of Home with Homemade Specialties

By Elisha Neubauer

Launched in 2008, the original concept was exactly as the name translates to: Le Petit Marche, or 'The Little Market.' The small shop started out offering fresh breads, cheeses, pestos, unique locally-made pantry items and flavor-packed sandwiches, soups and salads. They were your typical neighborhood corner store.

But, as so happened across the United States, the recession hit; leaving devastation in its wake. Le Petit Marche was no exception. "So many times I cried wondering why we hadn't had a single customer in hours," details Marchet Sparks, owner of Le Petite Marche. Trying to salvage what she could, Sparks turned to a different concept, moving away from the retail aspect and instead favoring prepared foods instead.

When the market originally opened, Le Petit Marche focused on a small smattering of prepared foods. These included such items as homemade soups and a small selection of hot/cold sandwiches and salads. Today, the shop covers everything from breakfast foods to homemade soups, artisan sandwiches, gourmet salads, and specially designed kids' meals.

But, while the food is stunning in its own right, there is another aspect to Le Petit Marche that Sparks seems to believe contributed to her making it through the recession. "Customers love to see my mom and pop walking about greeting, assisting, hugging, and laughing," she exclaims. "I am fortunate to have an amazing set of parents. Perhaps it was the family-owned aspect and that we extended warmth to whomever walked through the door."

Customers seem to react exceptionally favorable to the atmosphere of Le Petit Marche, with the most frequent compliment being granted to the 'feel' of the eatery. "That, along with affordable yet tasty food (I believe) is the reason people were drawn to us," Sparks declares.

Whether she is right there in the mix, working alongside her team in tandem, or out hugging and greeting her guests, Sparks has really and truly put her heart and soul into the quaint little eatery. What seemed like an imminent failure given the surprising turn of the economy, has now become a neighborhood success story. Sparks seems to feel most appreciative to the community.

"I think our guests appreciate a family hard at work trying to do its very best," she explains. "A shout-out to Kirkwood for initially getting the word out, sticking by me and giving me repeated chances to get it right. I love this community!"

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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