NEW ORLEANS — When Fayad Araiji came to Crowley, La., from Zgharta in northern Lebanon in 1920, he did not speak a word of English. But by 1928, Mr. Araiji, by then known as Fred Reggie, had started three businesses, including a grocery store stocked with canned goods, flour and vegetables.
Now, his great-granddaughter Simone Reggie is doing her best to keep up.
In late 2016, Ms. Reggie, 40, opened Simone’s Market, a grocery that stresses local produce, products and meals prepared in house. It is her third venture since getting her master of business administration from Tulane University in 2012, and one that she approaches as if she were serving family and friends.
“They’re guests in our home,” Ms. Reggie said. “When they come in, I want everyone to feel like they’re very important.”
Kristen Essig, co-chef at the New Orleans restaurant Coquette and a finalist for this year’s James Beard Award for best chef in the South, said Ms. Reggie “runs her business as she lives her life: with generosity, compassion and thoughtfulness.”
But Ms. Reggie’s familial approach camouflages an enormous amount of drive, said her business partner, A. J. Brooks, a local developer and a classmate at Tulane.
Both of them, he said, are interested in ventures that “connect with the community, and aren’t just another place to do an errand or a place to sleep.”
Ms. Reggie’s enterprises have caught the attention of the magazine Southern Living, which recently named her one of 30 Southern food women to watch. She also was mentioned in Garden & Gun magazine’s look at how to do New Orleans like a local.
Before the market, Ms. Reggie helped create Cleaver and Company, a butcher shop, and the New Orleans branch of Good Eggs, the San Francisco organic food delivery company. She sold her interest in the butcher shop, which is now closed, and Good Eggs subsequently shut its operations in New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans to focus on its home base.
The market came to life while Mr. Brooks was renovating a pair of old buildings in the Central Business District to form the 35-room Catahoula Hotel, which opened in 2016. Ms. Reggie had planned to open her market around the corner, but that location fell through at the last minute.
Within a week, Ms. Reggie found a spot on emerging Oak Street, in the Uptown neighborhood, which required the installation of a commercial kitchen, custom-built shelving and a front counter. Including inventory, Ms. Reggie said, the venture cost around $600,000.
Her goal is to earn net margins of 3 to 5 percent a year, though some customers complain that her local products cost too much. (A small jar of Poirier’s cane syrup goes for $16.99; a pint of Quintin’s ice cream costs $4.99.) But that reflects doing business with small vendors, Mr. Brooks said.
“Everything is curated,” he said. “You’re dealing with a person at the other end, and usually an owner, not a sales rep for a big corporation.”
Ms. Reggie’s parents divorced when she was 2, and her childhood was split between New Orleans, her mother’s home base, and Lafayette, where her father owned a restaurant. He subsequently became the head of St. Jude’s Dream Home Giveaway, a fund-raising program for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
The family connection to St. Jude’s traces to her grandfather Emile, who knew St. Jude’s founder, the actor Danny Thomas. (The two were of Lebanese descent.) He wasn’t the family’s only notable association.
One of Ms. Reggie’s cousins is Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Another is Mikie Mahtook, an outfielder in the Detroit Tigers organization.
Ms. Reggie has an impressive network in New Orleans, where her annual Mardi Gras open house draws chefs, food writers, photographers and other assorted friends. They came to her aid when her mother, Mary, known as Missy, died last fall.
As soon as word spread, food began to arrive from the city’s top restaurants. On the funeral day, Ms. Reggie arrived at the luncheon afterward to find that it was catered by her mentor, the restaurateur John Besh.
Mr. Besh has since been enveloped in a sexual harassment scandal, causing him to leave the Besh Restaurant Group and lose his association with PBS, whose stations carried his television programs.
Ms. Reggie declined to comment on the allegations against Mr. Besh, but said she remained grateful for what she had learned from him over the years.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him pushing me to follow my dream and open a business,” said Ms. Reggie, who also ran a microloan program for local growers. “It’s because of him that I learned about the struggles of local farmers to produce their product.”
Ms. Reggie envisions more Simone’s Markets across New Orleans, whose food shopping scene is dominated by major grocers such as Whole Foods and a local chain, Rouses.
But, as with every small business, the odds for her market are uncertain. One in three small businesses closes within two years, and half fail within five years, according to data from the Small Business Administration.
Getting people in the door is a constant worry. “You wake up every morning thinking, ‘Will they come?’” Ms. Reggie said.
Yet she believes anxiety is motivating. “There’s got to be a level of fear,” she said. “If you’re not scared, you’re not thinking it all the way through.”