NEW ORELANS — When Rouses Enterprises LLC designed its new downtown store, the Thibodaux, La.-based company highlighted its relationship with local growers.
Photos of the growers the company regularly sources from are displayed prominently in the produce department.
The company’s commitment to sourcing locally is a long-standing tradition, said Joe Watson, director of produce. The company’s founder, Anthony Rouse, descended from local shippers who supplied major markets like St. Louis and Chicago.
“I have been with Rouses for 29 years and I vividly remember our founder Mr. Anthony Rouse telling me as a young produce manager to buy everything I could find that was local,” Watson said. “Mr. Rouse was always identifying with our local farmers and it was his passion to help build their business, as well as his, and to differentiate from the competition. Rouses is local and we buy local. Our competition cannot duplicate those two facts at the same time.”
Rouses has expanded its local produce programs significantly over the past few years, including working with local hydroponic growers to source unique crops not normally cultivated in Louisiana.
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Rouses considers anything grown in Louisiana or Mississippi local to its stores.
“This is a very exciting time in local farming for our company and our farming sources,” Watson said.
The store, which opened in November a few blocks from the Superdome, is the first full service grocer to open in downtown New Orleans in 50 years, Watson said, and so far it is exceeding expectations.