Construction is under way on a new Robért Fresh Market in New Orleans; the 26,000-s.f. full-service grocery store on the corner of St. Claude Avenue and Elysian Fields will serve the Bywater and Marigny neighborhoods and employ 30 full-time and 50 part-time workers.
The store will mark a return to the area for the local supermarket chain following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and subsequent litigation over insurance proceeds from storm damages.
The location originally was a Schwegmann Brothers Giant Supermarket (No. 1). The store located at 2222 St. Claude Avenue was the first of the 18 Schwegmann chain stores in the New Orleans area. Robért Fresh Market took over the Schwegmann’s space in the 1990s until Katrina.
The new project, which also will include a separate retail space for as many as seven tenants, received partial funding from the city’s Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI), a program that increases access to fresh foods in traditionally underserved neighborhoods in the city, in addition to providing quality employment opportunities and serving as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization. The program provides direct financial assistance to retail businesses by awarding forgivable and/or low-interest loans to supermarkets, grocery stores and other fresh food retailers. Circle Foods in the Seventh Ward, the ReFresh project featuring Whole Foods Market in Mid-City and Dryades Public Market in Central City all were partially funded by FFRI.
“We are thrilled to announce the beginning of construction of the new Robért Fresh Market. This is a clear sign of rebirth and progress for the Bywater and Faubourg Marigny neighborhoods,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “The city’s Fresh Food Retailer Initiative allows us to increase access to fresh food options for our citizens in neighborhoods that need it most. Projects like this create jobs, generate taxes, bring vacant properties back into commerce and reinvigorate neighborhoods. We look forward to more fresh food store openings in neighborhoods throughout the city.”
Added Marc Robért II, CEO of Robért Fresh Market, “We are proud and excited for this project to come to life. We’ve created a concept that upholds the integrity and authenticity of the area while bringing the neighborhood a fresh, full-service grocery they need.”
The new store is expected to open late this year.
Robért Fresh Market, founded in 1994, currently operates four stores—two in New Orleans and one each in Metairie and Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge store, a former Matherne’s Supermarket at 7355 Highland Road that Robért Fresh Market bought more than a year ago, will soon undergo an extensive expansion and remodel. It will remain open during renovations, which are expected to wrap up by the fall.