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    Rouses Enters Alabama Market

    Louisiana chain acquires 6 former Belle Foods stores

    Rouses Markets soon will take ownership of six former Belle Foods stores from Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG), a retail-owner cooperative of which Rouses Markets is a member.

    AWG and its group of grocers and operators submitted the winning bid last week at the Belle Foods bankruptcy auction in Birmingham.

    This is Rouses Markets' first expansion into Alabama. The company currently operates 38 stores in Louisiana and Mississippi. Three new stores in Louisiana were also recently announced.

    The Alabama stores are located in Mobile, Gulf Shores, Spanish Fort, Saraland and Theodore. Rouses Markets won’t take possession until after the transfer to AWG is complete. “The stores will already be closed when we take ownership,” said Donny Rouse, managing partner and third-generation owner of Rouses Markets. “We’re going to keep them closed while they undergo multimillion-dollar remodeling. We’ll be adding in-store sausage kitchens, seafood boiling rooms and other features we’re famous for.”

    Exact reopening dates for the stores will depend on construction times.

    Tommy Delaune, president of Tommy’s Seafood in Chalmette, said Rouses' expansion into Alabama is good news. "Fishermen across the Gulf Coast are excited about this," he said. "They know what it means for them and the economy. Rouses support keeps our Gulf Coast fishermen working."

    Rouses Markets will interview current Belle Foods employees; Rouse says he hopes everyone applies to join the Rouses’ family. “The right team members, with the right training, make all of the difference in a customer’s shopping experience,” he said. “I know people will appreciate the level of training we offer, and the commitment we make to our team members and community.”

    Founded in 1960, Thibodaux, La.-based Rouses Markets has 38 locations owned and operated by a second- and third-generation of the Rouse family.

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