When kids head toward the lobster tank at The Market at River Falls in Potomac, employee Ronald Logan asks if they want to see a lobster up close. One day this past summer, he says with a laugh, “I took it out and [the kids] started petting it.” For Logan, the market’s lead customer service representative, it’s all part of what makes his job so great. “It’s a friendly market—a lot of customers, they keep coming back.”
Logan has worked at the high-end market since 2013—more than a year before Potomac residents Jim McWhorter and his wife, Yasmin Abadian, bought the place out of bankruptcy and reopened it “10 weeks to the day after it closed,” McWhorter says. It had originally opened in 1999 under the name River Falls Seafood Market.
Logan is one of the store’s longest-serving employees, but nearly half of the 23 have been there at least five years, McWhorter says. “Among our staff we represent four major religions, six nations of birth and three different skin colors,” and the staff treats each other like family, McWhorter says.
General Manager David Fletcher recalls co-workers coming to his house with meals, balloons and a get-well-soon card signed by everyone when he was sick with Lyme disease. And Arline Selvas, who’s worked behind the counter since 2017, says one of the store’s chefs taught her how to drive and helped her study for her driver’s exam. But what she really appreciates is how McWhorter and her co-workers look out for one another.
Fletcher remembers the day this past spring when a customer began yelling at Selvas, who had politely asked the man to put on a mask, per the store’s COVID-19 policy. “He just went off on her,” Fletcher says of the customer. McWhorter walked over, had a short conversation with the man and ended up asking him to leave the store. “This was a gentleman who was here nearly every day,” Fletcher says. “At the cost of making a sale, Jim would choose to protect the staff.”
By Amy Halpern