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The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

At Erewhon, a smoothie is much more than just a smoothie

At the Silverlake store, Alina Perez ‘24, with FSHA alumnae Taylor Jordan and Lexi Smith, meets TikToker Avani. Photo by Maria Boutros ’24

Last September, the upscale and notoriously expensive grocery market chain Erewhon opened a new location on South Lake Avenue in Pasadena. People gathered by the hundreds at the crack of dawn, hoping to be among the first to enter the store. Since then, dozens of Tologs have made visiting this store part of their routines.

What is it, though, about Erewhon that makes the place so popular? Especially when there are other well regarded and more reasonably priced markets like Whole Foods and Sprouts in the neighborhood?

Erewhon has 10 locations throughout greater Los Angeles. My mom first took me to the Pacific Palisades location in 2018, and I remember being fascinated by the aisles adorned with sea moss and colorful supplements. A few years later, my school friends and I started visiting the Erewhon stores in Silver Lake and the Grove. And then, just a few months ago, an Erewhon opened five minutes from my house in Pasadena. My friends and I make visiting this location an adventure: we’ll dress in our best athleisure or influencer-worthy outfits, hop in the car and cross our fingers for a spot of street parking.

According to the online publication The Cut, Erewhon opened its doors almost 60 years ago. Its founders, Aveline and Michio Kushi, conceived of it as a “health utopia.” Over the ensuing decades it evolved into the upscale organic grocery store and cafe that it is today. Its mission? The chain’s corporate website informs us that Erewhon Market believes “nutrition is the key to a radiant lifestyle” and it strives to “provide exceptional organic products that inspire good decision-making and healthier communities.”

“I go because I enjoy the food and I like what they stand for. I like that it’s healthy food. It’s an easy option when I’m coming home from practice and I just want to stop and get food. I’m not going to go get fast food, I’m going to get something more healthy,” Guinevere Andrews ‘24 said.

Despite the store’s high prices, Andrews believes that the expense of her purchases is justified by the quality of the food.

“If it’s just me I’ll probably spend $25. If I’m shopping for my family, or I’m getting other groceries, it could be anywhere up to $100,” Andrews said.

As a student-athlete, Kat Ward ‘24 finds that the food at Erewhon helps keep her energy levels up.

“I justify the price because I think that it fuels me as an athlete, especially on days when I don’t have school. It feels like the best option,” Ward said.

Ward and Izzy Paz ‘24 also love the taste of the food.

“I like trying new foods such as spicy tuna or crispy rice or a breakfast burrito,” Paz said.

Aside from the flavors, Ward and Paz both appreciate Erewhon’s selection of healthy choices.

“It feels much healthier than going to Chick-fil-A or Panda Express, or any other fast-food restaurant,” Ward said. “I just feel better knowing that I’m putting better food into my body.”

I agree with my fellow Tologs: there is no debate regarding the flavor and healthiness of the foods at Erewhon. Whenever I eat there, I feel good knowing I’m fueling my body with ingredients that are both healthy and locally-sourced. Moreover, I admire the “wellness” and “clean girl” aesthetic that Erewhon exudes.

But that’s just part of the story.

Each Erewhon location has its own particular vibe, with playlists curated by local DJs, and boasts a strong presence on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Celebrities such as Cara Delevingne, Kaia Gerber, Jake Gyllenhaal, Demi Lovato, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, A$AP Rocky and Leonardo DiCaprio have been photographed shopping there. Kanye West has tweeted about it and magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair and The Hollywood Reporter have written about it. All this attention has cast Erewhon as a place where a mix of Hollywood personalities, tourists, influencers, artists (and private school students!) don’t just shop for food but socialize, study, hang out and perhaps most importantly, get seen.

Erewhon, in my view, understands the power and allure of celebrity and has somehow made it part of its brand promise. Sure, when you order the Hailey Bieber Strawberry Glaze smoothie, you’re forking over an inordinate amount of money—the Bieber goes for a whopping $18.00—but in exchange you’re getting more than a delicious, healthful drink. You get to do what celebrities do—you get, in essence to be like a celebrity—for at least as long as your smoothie lasts. And who knows?  You might also wind up on somebody’s Instagram feed.

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About the Contributor
Elle Gilhooly
Elle Gilhooly, Staff Writer
Elle Gilhooly is a staff writer for the Veritas Shield and a senior at Flintridge Sacred Heart. She began writing for the Veritas Shield this year and is excited to be a part of the paper her senior year. Elle is a cheerleader and does track and field at FSHA. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, horseback riding, learning languages and going to the beach and concerts.

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