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Rouses Markets Celebrates History, Heritage With New Houma Store

Rouses Market shoppers in Houma, Louisiana, have a new location to “go make groceries.” 

The 60,000-square-foot store, located at 2233 Martin Luther King Blvd., replaced the company’s “superstore,” which was built in 1989. It also is the fourth market at or near the site of the first store, Ciro’s, opened in 1960 by Anthony Rouse Sr. and Ciro di Marco.

Rouses Houma

A grand opening celebration was held Aug. 16, and customers began lining up outside the Houma store at 3 a.m., according to CEO Donny Rouse, a third-generation family member of the Schriever, Louisiana-based company.

Rouses Markets also is celebrating 100 years of City Produce, which was the first company the Rouse family started after arriving in America from Sardinia. J.P. Rouse, Donny Rouse’s great-grandfather, began shipping produce out of Thibodaux, Louisiana, to markets in 1923.

The big green produce truck was on display for the grand opening in Houma.

“It was a real special opening for us, due to the fact that it was our fourth store within the same area.”

Rouse said he spent time in the store talking to customers, many of whom have been shopping at Rouses since the original Houma store opened.

“They were talking to me about how they delivered bread to my grandfather and my dad, or how they worked in the store, how they shopped in those stores. And they just stay with us over the years. It was just a really cool feeling. I had some really great conversations with customers in the store.”

Rouses Houma

Rouse said all of their locations pay tribute to the family’s Louisiana heritage. A sign in the new Houma store refers to “makin’ groceries.”

“That’s a phrase that’s used just really heavily here in southeast Louisiana. Instead of saying, ‘I’m going grocery shopping,’ or ‘going to the supermarket,’ it’s ‘I’m going to make groceries.’ That’s the way we talk.”

Rouse said their Louisiana heritage is celebrated in every store the company opens. 

“That’s who we are. We’ve always been here supporting the farmers and the fishermen, the local grocery manufacturers and our communities. We’re never going to get away from that. We are local. You’re seeing different supermarkets getting bought up across the country and in our area. But we’re local for the market that we serve. We are always going to be local, and we’re going to be that local grocery store our customers and team members can count on.”

Rouse said opening day was very busy, with a few hundred customers lined up by 8 a.m. 

Among the new store features are a dry aged beef case, a large fresh seafood case, expanded deli offerings, a Mongolian Grill, sushi, fresh produce and a variety of local products. Many features are the same found in other Rouses Market stores, but “the way it comes together and flows through the store just makes it feel a little different. We’re going to make sure we keep that flow and the core package we have moving forward.”

Rouse said the new design will be used in the next stores in the pipeline to be built. Plans have been announced for two new stores in Mississippi – Biloxi and Picayune – and new stores in Lafayette and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The retailer has also recently held a grand reopening in Mandeville.

A new feature that debuted on opening day is the Houma da Chicken drive-thru window, where customers can buy Rouses’ popular fried chicken, made from a family recipe, and all the sides. Crawfish also will be sold through the drive-thru when that season comes around, Rouse said.

Rouses Houma

Customers were impressed with the new store.

“We got tremendous feedback. Everybody was just blown away.”

Rouse said the fried chicken drive-thru had “just been blowing up on social media.”

“It’s a fantastic product. The lines have been flowing good. We have great teammates in the store, and everyone’s really excited.”

The drive-thru concept is being tested at the Houma store, but Rouse said other new stores and remodels are slated to offer that convenience to customers as well. 

Drive-thru customers may have seen some local celebrities manning the window, including Bobby Hebert, former New Orleans Saints quarterback; Deuce McAllister, former New Orleans Saints running back; Martin Folse, owner of local TV station HTV; and DJ Red, a local TikTok star.

Opening day also saw check presentations to local organizations Second Harvest Food Bank, Bayou Cane and Houma fire departments and the Houma Police Department.

“We’re always wanting to give back to the community, to the organizations that are supporting us throughout the year by shopping at our stores. Giving back to the communities on a consistent basis is something that we do,” Rouse said.

Rouses Markets is the official supermarket of the New Orleans Saints and has been voted the “Best Grocery Store” by The Houma Courier and Daily Comet year after year.

Read more independent store news from The Shelby Report.

Rouses Houma

 

About the author

Treva Bennett

Senior Content Creator

After 32 years in the newspaper industry, she is enjoying her new career exploring the world of groceries at The Shelby Report.

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