GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Gulf Coast’s newest grocery store stayed busy Wednesday with excited and eager shoppers, but none may be more excited about its grand opening than shopper Lanie Butler.
“I am from Louisiana, and this is like bringing home back to my new home. So, I’m really excited about the products, homegrown girl, and I just came to check it out," she said.
She wasn’t the only one feeling at home. So was Marsha Garrett.
“Fresh crab, I love them. I’m from New Orleans, so you know that’s a tradition," Garrett said.
It’s all about fresh at this Rouses, not just fresh food, but also a fresh new look for the former Winn Dixie building.
“It’s a beautiful facility. It’s brand new from the ground up. All but three walls are new in here, so it’s a great new store," said advertising and marketing director Tim Acosta.
The new location is just across the street from the former Rouses building on Pass Road. It’s a short move that brings a big change.
“With Gulfport, it was time for our other store to be remodeled, and we thought we could do a better job just starting from scratch basically," said CEO Donny Rouse.
“We wanted to give our customers a brand new store, something that they’re not accustomed to across the street," said Kenneth Jones, the regional director of operations. "We have a full-service seafood department now. We have a full-service butcher’s best shop now. We have dry-aged beef. We’ve got the freshest produce in town.”
Shoppers said the store also brings something fresh to the entire Gulf Coast.
Judy Page said she’s excited to no longer have to make grocery runs to Slidell and Lumberton.
“We don’t have a store like this on the Coast, so it makes it a whole lot better. Sometimes, you want specialty stuff, and you can’t get it," Page said.
Store management said they already have a strong customer base in Gulfport, and with this newest investment, they only expect it will grow.
“We just wanted to show the community how much that we believe in this community and all and how much they believe in Rouses, and we’re just coming together to make it happen today," said store director Robert Strahan.
There is no word yet on what business will move into the former location.