Meet the people who work 3 jobs to afford Erewhon

City says 7,000 summer jobs are available for Boston youth ages 14 to 18

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Photo illustration: by The Cut; Images courtesy of Themes

swellingA month-long series that explores health and wellness topics that no one talks about.

Spencer Ganus, 23, makes nearly $40,000 a year as a freelance voice artist, content creator for a hummus company, and college essay tutor — which forces her to share a carpeted, non-air-conditioned apartment in Brentwood with a roommate — yet she’s not willing to give up. About one luxury: Erewhon. Each week, she spends between $50 and $75 (though she admits sometimes, as much as $200) at the high-end health food store in Los Angeles, which has also become a social scene attracting healthy TikTok influencers, health nuts, and on one occasion , dominatrix. Include her favorite items French squirrel bissues, a “nutritious version” of puppy food ($9); a “Literally Five Piece” keto brownie ($10); and a packet of three dates filled with peanut butter ($8), which she admits can be probably It can be DIY’ed for less money. “I made jokes about how no matter what, it’s always going to be in my budget, even though I’m a starving artist,” she says. “It has become my identity.”

Ganus is an Erewhon addict. She spends most of her disposable income—and then some—on high-end groceries. She is joined by others who spend thousands of dollars a year on cans of chicken noodle soup and regularly charge more than $20 for a single smoothie.

One recent morning, Ganus leans on the juice bar at Erewhon Market and orders the juice of the month — Coconut shaker from Thorn Super Greens – which retails for $13. “Have you tried it?” you ask the barista. The barista shrugs. “it was good. It’s not the best thing we’ve ever launched.” Ganus nodded intently. “One of my friends said it was awful.” At least it’s free, she admits. “Well, technically not free because I’m paying for the membership.” (Ganus, who pays 200 A dollar a year for a membership gets you a free monthly smoothie.)

Photo illustration: by The Cut; Images courtesy of Themes

It’s Erewhon’s uncharacteristically light ride to Ganus, and it’s also an ambitious one Wellness Content Creator, who has come to collect her juice as a reward after yoga. It weaves through narrow aisles full of colorful, if not somewhat bewildering, products like $40 Neptune blue moss gel and $11 Turmeric pea bread. She led me to the produce section and pointed to a 16-ounce container of scarlet strawberries, which cost $24. “I would never buy that,” Ganus insists. “Actually, I used to buy cut fruit sometimes. That was when I was dating my ex and he was buying salmon for his dog here.”

Despite its current reputation, Erewhon has come from humble beginnings. Named after Samuel Butler’s satirical utopia ErwanAnd The store started in Boston, specializing in microbiotic-rich foods before making its way west in 1968. In 2011, Tony and Josephine Antosi bought Erewhon, beginning the once-niche salesman’s transformation from hippie health food store to luxury boutique-wellness giant . The store has become a staple on social media, garnering a regular spot on DeuxMoi’s Sunday Spotted, and capitalizing on the hype, partnering with Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid, and Kourtney Kardashian to create signature smoothies priced at just under $20 featuring ingredients like mesquite, chlorella, and spirulina. And vanilla collagen.

Eriohon’s straightforward dating culture also gives character. “It’s like Tinder for groceries,” says Adam Shapiro, 65, who goes there for soup. “I have friends who are in their 30s and they love it because it’s a young, good-looking, little place for people who want to hook up.” Janus agrees. “Every time I go, I make it look really cute because obviously it’s a dream to meet my future husband while I’m at Erewhon.” For her, it is a love language. “There’s this boy in San Francisco and he texted me yesterday and said, ‘Can you ship me peanut butter?'” I will literally pay you. “I’m seeing someone else, so I don’t think I can do that. I think this is emotional cheating.”

Jessie Latin, 25, maintains a dairy- and gluten-free diet and tries to limit sugar, soy, and alcohol to help manage endometriosis symptoms. Shopping for Erewhon is confirmation that she’s eating the best foods for her body, while also allowing her to indulge her sweet tooth. “I never thought I’d be able to have candy that tasted so good again,” she says. Latin, who lives with her parents while she builds her own caseload as a therapist, guesses she spends about $125 a week at Erewhon (separate from her miscellaneous groceries) and understands why people question the store’s prices. After the diagnosis, however, her priorities changed. “I think of people who go out and spend $20 on vodka in clubs every weekend,” she says. “I’d rather pay $18 for a smoothie that would nourish my body and give me nutrients than have a $20 drink.”

Luba Kaplanskaya lives with her parents and works part-time in marketing, in a law firm, and as a nanny. However, the 25-year-old, who has an income of about $50,000, believes that life is about luxury and Erewhon allows you to feel luxurious regardless of your income. “I like to take an Erewhon when I travel,” she says, “because I’m freaking out about the economy of flying, I’m not on a private jet anywhere.” “Just to put on a comfortable tracksuit or a lulu suit and then put on an Erewhon? I feel like I’m a billion dollar fortune.” Kaplanskaya used to go to Erewhon’s frequently while she babysat. “I get compensated for anything I buy during my time with the kids, so I’ll give her one sip of $16 juice and charge her for it,” she says. I told you to stop shopping at Erewhon because it was too expensive.”

Luba Kaplanskaya
Image source: Luba Kaplanskaya

The store’s price contributes to its influence, according to Andrea Hernandez, founder and self-described “cult leader” of the online food and beverage community Shot. Hernandez describes Erewhon as “affordable riches”—a way for ordinary people to position themselves near the upper class. Those who know about Erewhon are in the know. They point it out Study 2024 In the International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity It was found that the 2008 recession was associated with a decrease in fruit and vegetable intake. But Hernandez insists the shop is a place where everyone feels like they’re part of something, especially during bad times. “Maybe you can’t afford to own a home because of the housing crisis and inflation and everything is so expensive, but you have an Erewhon.”

Back at Erewhon’s juice stand, there’s a green, muddy mix waiting for Ganus. She takes a sip of her drink very carefully. Her face contorted in disgust. “This is literally outrageous,” she says, vomiting. “It’s like a mixture of dirty water and grass on your shoe.” Offer me a sip. It tastes like cabbage juice poured into a chalky mixture of vitamins and topped with a few drops of peppermint oil. “Knowing I’ll go to my car and make TikTok review,As I get ready to drive, I see Ganus stationed in her car, she says, trying to reuse her juice for the camera. She repeats the same previous process, coughing and furrowing her face. “I don’t want to be dramatic, but this was awful,” she reports to her followers.