For nearly six decades, Rouses Markets has been a premium retailer in south Louisiana and now across the Gulf Coast. The high-quality fresh produce, variety of products and superb customer service have led the company to tremendous success over the years—recently being named Southeast Retailer of the Year. An immense contribution to this success and prosperity is attributed to their CEO and Managing Partner Donny Rouse, who began with the company when he was about eight years old—bagging groceries and pushing buggies. This influencer has made countless contributions to many communities across the South.
What led you to run your own company? Did you see yourself in this position when you started out in the work force? “The company was started by my grandfather in 1960, and I grew up across the street from our corporate office and one of our stores. It’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do. I learned a lot about the grocery industry by just sitting in my dad’s office before school and afterschool, hearing my father and grandfather talk. Once I started working, I knew I wanted to one day run the company.”
What is the biggest challenge you have faced over the years and how did you meet it?
“Probably just the stress of being a CEO. Once you’re a CEO, there’s no one else you can blame for any mistakes, failures or poor performances. I just hire the best people that I can find, and I work the hardest I can; I’m just trying to do the best.”
What is on the horizon for you?
“We’re looking to continue growing the company and continue expanding across the South. We want to continue to give our employees opportunities to grow within the company, into different positions. We do a lot of purchases from local farmers and fishermen and give them the opportunity to spread their product throughout the South. We want to spread the Louisiana brand.”
Who are your greatest influencers?
“My kids. They enabled me to have the work/life balance. When I leave the house in the morning, I’m excited to come back and see them in the afternoons. I know I need to get what I need to get done throughout the day so I can return home and see them. I don’t want to look back in 10 years and say, ‘Man, I wish I’d have done this for my kids.’ I also want to be able to give my kids whatever they want as they’re growing up.”
How are you going to impact the Bayou Region in 2019?
“We’re going to open up a couple of new stores. We are going to acquire three of the Frank’s Supermarket locations in South Lafourche. We’re going to turn those into Rouses Markets in January. That’s going to keep 100 or so jobs down the bayou and give those employees opportunities to grow with our company.” •