Above: J.P. Rouse, father of Rouses founder Anthony Rouse Sr., is pictured here with colleagues in his produce shipping business. Anthony grew up working alongside his father, learning the food industry as a young man and eventually opening a grocery store with his cousin, Ciro DiMarco in 1960.
When J.P. Rouse founded the City Produce Company in Thibodaux, Louisiana, in 1923, customers who were used to going to the corner store for groceries were just starting to shop at supermarkets. Rouse knew the best produce in America came from Louisiana, and he wanted the rest of the country to know it, too. His City Produce Company set about buying locally grown fruits and vegetables from farmers in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, and at the French Market in New Orleans. City Produce Company would sort, pack and ship the fresh produce all over the country for sale in supermarkets as far away as Alaska.
From the start, the City Produce Company was a family business. For years, Anthony Rouse worked by his father J.P.’s side, learning the produce business from the ground up. As Thibodaux and the neighboring town of Houma swelled with the oil boom, Anthony saw an opportunity to take what his father had done one step further. In 1960, Anthony and his cousin, Ciro DiMarco, opened their first grocery store with four employees and one motto: buy the best in Louisiana and bring the best to Louisiana. Along with the fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables that City Produce Company supplied, the 7,000-square-foot Houma market stocked Louisiana seafood, dry goods, and fresh meat.
Anthony’s sons Donald and Tommy Rouse joined the family business in the late 1970s, working their way up from box boys to store managers. By then Ciro had left the business, and Anthony, with the help of his sons, was running stores in Houma, Raceland and the Rouses’ hometown of Thibodaux. Over the next ten years, the company continued to expand across South Louisiana, opening locations in Lockport, Cut Off and Morgan City.
In the 1990s, while Anthony remained active in operations, the second generation of the family took over day-to-day management of the company. By the time Rouses opened its first store in Metairie in 1995, Rouses had been named the largest independent grocer in Louisiana and was getting national recognition.
In 2003, Rouses expanded into another new market, opening a 54,000 square-foot store in Covington. That store was followed by other St. Tammany Parish locations in Mandeville in 2005 and Slidell in 2006. At the end of 2006, Rouses was now a 15 store company.
In 2007, two years after hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the New Orleans area, Rouses acquired A&P’s Southern Division of 17 Sav-A-Center stores, effectively doubling the company in size, and giving the company its first stores in the city of New Orleans and in Mississippi. In 2008, Rouses acquired two additional stores in Mississippi, bringing the total on the Gulf Coast of their neighboring state to 4.
In January 2009, Rouses opened their first ground up constructed store in three years in the Lafayette area. This Youngsville location was the first in the Acadiana region for the chain, its western-most store, and the biggest grand opening event in company history.
Shortly after the Youngsville store opening, the Rouse family & team suffered the loss of their patriarch & founder, Anthony, on March 5, 2009. The 79-year old Mr. Rouse was still an active part of the business: helping to convert the old store on Highway 1 into the company’s headquarters, making weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) trips to the job site during construction of the Youngsville store, and advising his family and team on decisions big and small. His values of supporting his community, the local farmers and fishermen, and giving his customers the best quality product at the best price will forever resonate within the company that he built.
2011 was a busy year for Rouses, which opened four stores throughout the year. First, a replacement store was built in Lockport, Louisiana, upgrading our small, older store to a larger, state-of-the-art building. A few months later, Rouses opened its second store in Acadiana, in Lafayette across from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Cajun Field. Later in the year, Rouses completed the conversion and renovation of the historic Sewell Cadillac building in downtown New Orleans, giving the area its first full service grocery store in over 50 years. Finally, in December Rouses completed construction on a replacement store in Diamondhead, Mississippi that, much like in Lockport, upgraded our small, older store to a larger, state-of-the-art building.
Today, Rouses has 38 locations in Louisiana and Mississippi and more than 5,200 team members. Managing partners Donald and Tommy have been joined by their children, nieces & nephews, and the Rouse family remains as committed to buying from local suppliers today as J.P. Rouse was in 1923. From Louisiana and Mississippi farms, to Gulf Coast waters, if it’s grown, caught or made in this region, you’ll find it at Rouses.
- 2011 & 2012 Where Y'At Best Grocery Store
- 2006-2012 Sophisticated Woman’s Best Supermarket
- 2008-2012 Gambit Best Supermarket
- 2010 New Orleans Magazine's Best Grocery Store/Deli
- 2010 City Business Best Place to Work
- 2009 Daily Comet’s Best Grocery Store in Lafourche Parish
- 2001-2009 Houma Courier’s Best Grocery Store in Terrebonne Parish
- 2001-2009 Jefferson Life’s Best Supermarket
- 2009 Louisiana Life’s Best Places to Work
- 2009 AOL’s Best Grocery Stores
- 2007 Association for Corporate Growth Louisiana Deal of the Year
- 2007 Sophisticated Woman’s Best Supermarket
- 2007 Gambit Best Neighborhood Grocery on the North Shore
- 2006 Progressive Grocer Store of the Month
- 2006 Thibodaux Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year
- 2005 Gambit Best Neighborhood Grocery on the North Shore
- 2005 St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce Business Appreciation Award – Largest Expansion
- 2004 National Grocers Association Advertising Award Best Commercials
- 2004 National Grocers Association Advertising Award Best Grand Opening Campaign
- 2004 Addy Award Best Grocery Store Commercials
- 2003 Addy Award Best Grocery Store Commercials
- 1999 Food People of the Year (Donald)
- 1995 National Grocers Association Award - Fast Bagger
- 1984 Progressive Grocer Store of the Month