Hannah Krause, the new owner of Eden, is planning to continue a focus on unique-to-Des Moines products in the East Village institution.
Writer: Kelly Roberson
Photographer: Duane Tinkey
When Jen Hansen opened Eden on the corner East Fifth Street and Grand Avenue in 2003, she took a leap of faith. There were few other retail shops or restaurants in the nascent East Village, and little to lure foot traffic. Luckily, Hansen’s risk paid off: The East Village, and Eden along with it, took off, and the shop eventually moved into a larger space a block east and south. When Hansen died in 2017, Eden’s loyal customers—whom she lovingly referred to as “shopgirls”—tended her vision. Hannah Krause was one of them.
It was with another leap of faith that Krause bought Eden this past summer—in the midst of a pandemic and economic uncertainty. Her vision for this Des Moines institution offers a glimpse into how the places we love can and should evolve, even as the spirit of the people who gave them to us carries on.
The 33-year-old Krause, a Cleveland native, graduated from Loyola University and worked in Chicago in various media and publishing roles for six years. She also met and married her husband, Des Moines native and Kum & Go President Tanner Krause, there. When the two relocated to Des Moines in 2016, Hannah left behind a career and friends. She was game to make the adjustment, but she also knew she’d have to forge a new path.
While Hannah Krause was employed full time at Kum & Go, she also worked part time at Eden. “Eden became a place where I spent a lot of time,” she says. “It felt like a community of very grounded people.”
When Hannah and Tanner had their daughter, Simone, two years ago, Hannah began a search for what she calls “a purposeful career.” That search coincided with Hansen’s widower, John Hansen, deciding to sell the shop. The shopgirls, who included longtime employee Dena Steinbach, were supportive.
“From the beginning I thought that Hannah would be a great fit for being the owner and curator of Eden,” Steinbach says. “Hannah genuinely wants to carry on the Eden legacy and honor Jen’s memory.”
The duality of keeping the Eden magic but making the shop her own are very much on Krause’s mind. “How do I build a future, honor a past and forge a new identity for Eden?” she asks.
It’s easier because Eden is really a unicorn, Krause says. “Seemingly so effortlessly Jen built this brand that marketers for global brands aim for,” she says. “If you ask people about Eden, the first thing they say is how they feel in the store. It captured some space in hearts and minds of people. You can’t re-create that.”
Krause wants to build on that: She’s tackling the e-commerce and digital side to ensure both match the brick-and-mortar experience.
“I asked John the one thing I could do to honor Jen every day, and he said put the customer first, second and third,” Krause says.
Five years from now, Krause is confident that longtime fans and first-time visitors will understand how well she has stewarded Hansen’s vision. “Eden is a special place,” she says. “It’s a respite. It transports you, and we will obsess over how we can make that accessible. I’m excited for the next 20 years.”
On the Shelves
Change will gradually come to the shelves of Eden—“more of what works, less of what doesn’t,” says Hannah Krause. “My goal is you walk into Eden and it’s a treasure hunt, and that no one carries our products in Iowa or the Midwest. Des Moines deserves great experiences.”
Here are four new products to look for and why Krause loves them:
Augustinus Bader—The Rich Cream: “This is, hands down, the best skin care product on the market. Dr. Augustinas Bader is one of the world’s leading stem cell and biomedical scientists who discovered a breakthrough regenerative skin treatment that was originally used on burn victims. I will use this forever.”
Diptyque Feu de Bois Candle: “Diptyque opened in Paris in 1963. My favorite, Feu de Bois, means ‘wood fire’ in French and gives the home an instant cozy smell.”
Bioderma ABC-Derm Cold Cream: “Bioderma is a cult-favorite French pharmacy brand that has a beautiful and affordable line of baby products. I started using this cream on my now 2-year-old daughter when she was an infant.”
Kjaer Weis Lengthening Mascara: “Historically Eden has never carried cosmetics, but we knew we needed to make an exception when we learned about this line. Kjaer Weis uses 100% organic, natural ingredients and refillable vessels to minimize waste.”