"The greatest thing about this whole block is that we're like a family."
That's how Brandee Santini describes what it's like to shop in Olde Towne Slidell. Santini is the owner of Green Oaks Apothecary and says more businesses like hers are moving into Olde Towne.
"This area has been undergoing huge growth," she says. "I'd say every six months somebody new is coming in. People are getting to love to buy local again."
The shops in Olde Towne are about as local as it gets. Santini lives just a few blocks away from her store. That gives the Green Oaks Apothecary, and all the Olde Towne shops, that hyper-local feel.
"People actually know if I close at 5 p.m., you might catch me down at Restaurant Cote meeting up with everybody afterward," Santini says. "We all carry each other's products inside our shops, like the fleur-de-lis [hanging in her store], which is by I.D.eel Design, which is right around the corner, owned by Joel and Christina Geiger. Restaurant Cote, with my candles all over their shops. So, everything we do is to support each other. It's a totally different way to shop."
Green Oaks Apothecary represents an old tradition itself.
"Before there were doctors and pharmacists we would use apothecarians to create medicine," explains Santini. "We make everything from scratch."
In a world of questionable ingredients and product recalls, Santini says her customers are happy to know what is in her products and where it came from.
"In the end, people may argue that you pay a little bit extra when you go into a locally-owned business," she says. "But, at least you know what you're getting."