Louisiana-based Rouses Markets plans to open a third grocery store in Slidell as the company invests $100 million in growth, development and store renovations over the next two years.
Two new Rouses stores in South Mississippi are already in the works, with the Picayune and Biloxi locations set to open in 2024, Charles Merrell, chief administrative officer for Rouses Markets, said Thursday at the inaugural Rouses Media Day in Metairie.
Rouses is one of the largest independent supermarket chain in the New Orleans metro area. It operates 63 stores in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, including locations on the Mississippi Coast. The company employs more than 7,000 people.
“We are the local grocery store across the Gulf Coast,” said Rouses CEO Donnie Rouse, whose family has operated grocery stories for 100 years.
Merrell gave development updates for the new stores. Here’s what to know:
The bidding process for building out the new Biloxi Rouses location on Pass Road began Thursday. Merrell said the store should be open in about a year, or August 2024. The decision to expand to Biloxi came because of the success of the Gulfport store a few miles down the road.
The Picayune store was the most requested store the company has ever seen. “I think I’ve talked to every single person who lives in that town,” Merrell said. That location should open in early 2024.
Rouses has purchased land in the Oak Harbor area of Slidell and is planning a third grocery store close to Interstate 10 in 2025. The other Slidell Rouses stores are on Gause Boulevard and U.S. 190.
A new Houma store that offers drive-thru fried chicken pickup recently opened, and new stores in Baton Rouge and Lafayette are set to open by the end of the 2023.
Both Rouses stores on Pass Road are inside of old Winn-Dixie stores that had closed.
ALDI recently announced plans to purchase the Florida-based Winn-Dixie, leaving the plans for the remaining South Mississippi stores in limbo. ALDI said it will convert some of the stores in the chains to ALDIs, and make changes to the other stores that open to embrace ALDI concepts.
Ron Bonacci, vice president marketing and advertising for Rouses, said the company is working on a customer loyalty and rewards program that should be unveiled in the “very near future.”
In addition to Gulfport, Rouses operates grocery stores in Diamondhead and Ocean Springs.
Sun Herald reporter Mary Perez contributed to this report.