Maxwell’s Market Sold
New owners to take over iconic grocery
For 27 years – the last 21 as owner – Ross Barclay poured his heart, soul, energy and money into Maxwell’s Market.
So, you can understand if his decision to sell was a bit difficult.
“I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that myself,” Barclay said. “It’s going to take a while to sink in … I can say that place has become a part of me and vice versa.”
On Oct. 14, Barclay closed a deal with the new owners, Andrea and Eric Reuther.
“I’m just getting to the age (50) where I can’t be on my feet 12 hours a day, backto-back-to-back,” Barclay said. “Especially during the holidays, I might work 90 hours a week. It really started to take a toll on me physically as well as mentally.”
One thing which soothed the pain of selling Maxwell’s (4861 Line Avenue) is that the new owners are local. Andrea grew up in Shreveport and went to Captain Shreve High School. Eric grew up in Haughton but went to school at Loyola College Prep.
“The utmost importance,” Barclay said of selling to people who live here. “That was the number one priority. I didn’t do this the last 27 years of my life for money. Granted, my wife and I made a decent and honest living. But I never did it for the money. I did it for the community. I did it for my employees, and the customers especially. Being a neighborhood grocery store owner, your customers and your employees become your family. That was the important part, and that was the fun part – getting to visit with all the people and getting to know everybody in the community.”
Likewise, it was important to the Reuthers that Maxwell’s stay under local ownership.
“It should be owned by someone local,” Andrea said. “Eric and I are big promoters of keeping things local and trying to get younger people to come back here. We love Shreveport. A lot of people are wanting to move off to these big cities, and that’s great. But we need people that are young and want to open businesses and start their lives in Shreveport.”
For Andrea, owning Maxwell’s is a bit surreal since she went there as a child.
“My parents used to get steaks and twicebaked potatoes from Maxwell’s once a week.
I can remember going in there with my mom after school. I would get an ICEE, and she would get whatever we were having for dinner. I feel like that’s something people do today. Kids come in, and they can get an ICEE or a snack after school, and their mom can get what she’s making for dinner that night.”
The Reuthers – Andrea is 29 years old, and Eric is 30 – are not new to the food industry. A year ago, they opened Bodacious BarBQ on Line Avenue. However, adding a second business to their portfolio so soon was not an easy decision.
“That was a big discussion,” Andrea said. “On top of that, I’m having a baby (girl) at the end of November. We have a lot going on, so we really had to sit down and think, ‘Do we really need to do this right now? Is it going to be too much?’”
Barclay is happy the Reuthers decided to move forward.
“They were the perfect fit. We know their family. We know their family’s background. We have tons of mutual friends. They’re just good, honest, hard-working, young folks. I can’t imagine a better fit for this.”
If you like Maxwell’s Market the way it is, you will be happy to know the Reuthers don’t plan on any significant changes right away.
“Right now, we’re focused on keeping it as it is,” Andrea said. “We’re doing some aesthetic updates. Eventually, we will probably add some stuff.”
“They’re going to make all the necessary improvements to spruce it up, and make it the gem that it really is,” Barclay said. “Anybody in any town anywhere in America will be proud to shop in there – not only for the product and the customer service, but now it’s going to be a really, really snazzy place to go into. Shreveport people will be proud to bring people from out of town and say, ‘Hey, we need to go check this place out.’”
While Barclay can’t say what’s next for him, he can say he isn’t retiring. But whatever he does, he will be hard-pressed to top his experience with Maxwell’s.
“Looking back, I can’t believe I had this much fun doing something that I loved, and I actually made some money at it. I’m a very lucky man. I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.”