Rouses Markets, one of the largest independent grocers in the South, is bringing its famous andouille, boudin, boiled crawfish and other Gulf Coast favorites to Alabama. In the next few weeks, the family-owned and operated company 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 of Rouses Markets, and third-generation owner. “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.” The exact reopening dates for the stores will depend on construction times.
Tommy Delaune, President of Tommy’s Seafood in Chalmette, said Rouses Markets’ expansion into Alabama is good news for everyone. “Fishermen across the Gulf Coast are excited about this. They know what it means for them and the economy. Rouses’ support keeps our Gulf Coast fishermen working.”