A Franco-American Duo to better serve you!

INTERVIEW OF TODD AND ANTHONY

I’m Mathilde, an American culture enthusiast. I interviewed Todd and Anthony, the creators of My Little America. I wanted to know a little more about them and their store. Todd is an American, hailing from the Great State of Ohio, and Anthony is French, from Brittany.

Online American Grocery Store - My Little America founders

Mathilde: “How long have you lived in France?”

Todd: “I arrived in France in 2008, and I’m still here today, almost 5 years later.”

Mathilde: “What brought you to France?”

Todd: “I came through an exchange between my university and the University of Rennes 1 to be an English lecturer and teach language classes.”

Mathilde: “So what made you stay?”

Todd: “I guess I succumbed to France’s many charms. Its lifestyle, its people, its food…and a special person… Sometimes there are things that frustrate me here, but overall France is a great country, something which I think sometimes gets overlooked by French people. But, that is for another interview! To finish answering your question, I had always dreamt of living in France, so when opportunity came knocking at the door, I opened it!”

Mathilde: “So let’s talk a bit about My Little America. How did this project begin?”

Todd: “After a few years in France, even though I love French food, I started to miss some American products. Some ingredients and products are impossible to find here. There’s nothing better than American comfort food to cheer you up. That is how the idea for My Little America came to be. I wasn’t the first to have the idea, but I wasn’t completely satisfied by what the other shops offered or the way they offered it, so I said, why not do it myself? I spoke to Anthony about it, since he had the business skills and experience necessary to make such a project a success, and then we started doing market research.”

Mathilde: “So what are the goals of your shop?”

Todd: “We have two objectives. The first is to make it possible for Americans and French people who have lived in the US to find their favorite products easily, wherever they might live. The second is to help French people discover these ‘new’ and ‘exotic’ products and introduce them to the idea of ‘comfort food’.”

Mathilde: “So, can you explain what ‘comfort food’ is?”

Todd: “I would say it is food that brings you pleasure. Food that warms your heart. Everyone has their own interpretation of what it means. For me, it means simple, unassuming food. For example, a PB&J sandwich is comfort food for me. It’s simple, it’s tasty, and it reminds me of my childhood.”

Mathilde: “Anthony, how well do you know the US?”

Anthony: “I know the US pretty well since I’ve been there several times. I worked in New Orleans around 10 years ago and I’ve had the chance to visit quite a few states, so I’ve seen what a diverse country it is. Its heterogeneity is sometimes difficult to grasp from here. Actually, the country I know the best, besides France, is the United States. It’s a place where I feel great. I’m familiar with its culinary traditions as well as its products, which is, of course, useful for My Little America.

Mathilde: “How did you choose the name for your store?”

Anthony: “It wasn’t easy, but in the end we chose My Little America.” It’s a nod to the names of neighborhoods you find in large American cities, where different groups of immigrants settled, like Little Italy or Little Ukraine in New York. We would like to become the Little America in France.”

Mathilde: “What is your favorite American food product?”

Anthony: “There are so many, but I would have to say Kraft Deluxe Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese. I’ve tasted lots of different versions of Mac and Cheese, many homemade. I remember one that I had in the US, in a little restaurant in Columbus, Ohio called Betty’s, and it was killer: a creamy mix of macaroni, cheese, spicy sausage, onions, peppers… With Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese and a few extra ingredients, you get something that is almost as tasty, plus it brings back good memories!”

Mathilde: “So, where exactly do your products come from?”

Anthony: “We have chosen our products with care. We went to America to meet with our vendors. We import our products directly from the US by container, so we are able to assure their quality as well as their origins.

Mathilde: “Are your products more expensive than they are in the US?”

Anthony: “Because of the costs associated with importing them, like shipping and customs fees, the prices are of course higher than they would be in the United States. That’s logical. But, we have done everything to minimize the costs by choosing the most competitive vendors and using a light structure on our end. We will regularly offer deals on products that we have been able to negotiate the prices of, which will make it possible for anyone and everyone to discover our products from America.”

Mathilde: “Anything else to add?”

Todd: "Yes, I'd like to say a few words about AmericanLife.fr, a blog which I contribute to. We have just recently launched it. We talk about lots of topics concerning the US. There is cooking, culture, sports, lifestyle...basically anything involving America and Americans. So if you're interested, go check it out at http://americanlife.fr/ 


Anthony: “I hope our customers will enjoy discovering our site and tasting American comfort food. Don’t hesitate to leave us your suggestions or comments via our site.”