Rouses Markets is opening its fifth Alabama store, in the beach resort of Gulf Shores, on Feb. 26 after four months of renovations and three weeks of grand openings in the state, starting Feb. 9 in Theodore, Ala.
“We’ve been working for months to turn these stores into what customers expect from a Rouses,” said Donny Rouse, managing partner and third-generation family member. “They’ve been renovated top to bottom.”
Adds Rouse: “Sales in Alabama are extremely strong. We’re selling more boudin and hog’s head cheese in Alabama then we are in New Orleans, and we’ve sold a lot of chicken and andouille gumbo and seafood gumbo.”
According to Rouse, the Thibodaux, La.-based company boils more than 1,000 pounds of Louisiana crawfish in its Alabama stores daily. “We have our own boiling room right in the store, and our seafood case is stocked with whole Gulf fish, Gulf oysters, crabs and crabmeat, and wild-caught Louisiana shrimp and Florida Royal Red shrimp,” he noted.
King of King Cakes
Further, for Mardi Gras season in February, Alabamians “are buying the king cakes as fast as we bake them” for their own local celebrations, said Rouse. The chain bakes more than 300,000 of the seasonal sweet treats every season.
“Each store is local, and has its local ways and favorites,” explained Rouse. “Rouses Markets makes it a point to bring products from one area it serves to other locations on the Gulf Coast. Our customers appreciate local from all over the Gulf Coast, and it’s good for our local vendor partners. We want everyone to grow with us.”
To aid its food mission, Rouses works with Associated Wholesale Grocers’ (AWG) Gulf Coast Division, in Pearl River, La. “AWG works very closely with our team and our local vendors like China Doll and Ziegler Meats, and our customers have immediately taken to their brands,” said Donald Rouse, second-generation family member.
Additionally, new ground-up Rouses Markets currently in development in Denham Springs, Lafayette and Gretna, La., are scheduled to open later in 2014, bringing the family-owned and -operated chain’s store total to 46 across Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.