A collaborative effort years in the making, the Rouses Markets store that opened Jan. 11 at 5909 Florida Blvd. in North Baton Rouge was hailed by elected officials and the community as a much-anticipated end to a long-recognized food desert in Louisiana’s capital city.
A well-bundled crowd of hundreds started gathering in the wee morning hours, braving chilly temperatures to be among the first inside the brand-new 44,000-square-foot supermarket. By the time the store opened at 8 a.m. – following a ribbon-cutting ceremony – the line snaked around the building.
The store, Rouses Markets’ 11th location in metro Baton Rouge, will eliminate the need for residents to travel lengthy distances to buy fresh produce and groceries.
Addressing the crowd before the opening, CEO Donny Rouse described the supermarket as “one of the best stores we’ve built in our company.”
“This is what we do. We want to help the community, we want to change the community, we want to boost economics around the community,” said Rouse, the third generation to run the business started by his grandfather, Anthony J. Rouse Sr.
In developing the new store, Rouses Markets collaborated with Sharon Weston Broome, mayor-president of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish; Councilman Cleve Dunn Jr.; Veneeth Iyengar of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber; Build Baton Rouge; and Baton Rouge North Economic Development District.
Broome recalled the summer groundbreaking ceremony four years earlier (when the heat index was well in the triple-digits) and shared her gratitude to Rouses Markets, referring to the new store as “the manifestation of a dream for this community.”
“One of my favorite quotes that we use in the office is from Henry Ford that says, ‘Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. And working together is success.’ And so what you have seen here is certainly the manifestation of working together,” she said.
“And the truth is regardless of what side of town you live in, everyone deserves access to fresh food and healthier options near their homes. And I think that’s something we all would agree on.”
Broome added that the new Rouses Louisiana location is “an important step toward increasing access to quality fresh nutritional food in an area that certainly is in need of healthier options.”
“And I will tell you that this Florida Boulevard corridor is in the midst of economic renewal and revival, and Rouses Markets is a key partner in this,” she said.
Broome then presented Rouse with a proclamation recognizing the grand opening and in “appreciation for the significant investment Rouses Markets has made in our community, creating new jobs and providing residents with access to affordable and convenient shopping.”
Employing more than 200 people in full- and part-time positions, the store features a deli department serving Boar’s Head products. In addition, it has a hot food bar, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as additional bars offering hot soup and fresh salad.
Other store highlights include:
- Sushi, poke bowls and a Mongolian grill with rice bowls and teriyaki;
- Chef-inspired, fresh, ready-to-eat and -heat options; and
- Full-service bakery, floral and seafood departments, as well as a butcher shop with USDA Prime and USDA Choice beef, and steaks, roasts and chops sliced in house.
The seafood department has an in-house boiling room, with seafood delivered from all over the Gulf Coast and around the world.
In honor of the opening, Rouses Markets presented donations to several nonprofits and emergency services in the area, including Hope Ministries; 100 Black Men of Baton Rouge; Rise 225; TRUCE; and CAP, Family Justice Center.
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About Rouses Markets
Schriever, Louisiana-based Rouses is ranked one of the top private companies and largest employers along the Gulf Coast. It has been voted Best Grocery Store in Baton Rouge by readers of 225 Magazine year after year, and in polls across the region.
Since opening its first store in 1960, the company has grown to operate 63 locations across three states. It has more than 7,000 employees, with additional stores under construction.
Rouses, the official supermarket of the New Orleans Saints, has been honored for its community impact, supporting local food banks, charities, festivals and events.
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