After more than six months of construction, Southside Produce—which bills itself as the largest open-air market in Louisiana—plans to move into its new digs on Perkins Road just in time for Christmas.
Owner Andy Pizzolato says the new, 26,000-square-foot building, which includes a 12,000-square-foot storefront and 14,000-square-foot warehouse at 8240 Perkins Road, will open Sunday. That’s about three months later than originally projected. However, constructing the building at dock height—some four feet off the ground—was challenging logistically, Pizzolato says, especially given that the produce market remained in operation under a temporary tented structure throughout construction.
“Lesson learned: Never give a completion date before you start construction,” he says. “There wasn’t any particular problem, though. It was just a bunch of little things—typical construction delays.”
Besides increasing the size of its retail floor space, Southside’s new building will enable the company to increase its wholesale business. Retail sales traditionally have comprised the majority of Southside’s revenues, but Pizzolato says he’s planning to move more aggressively into the wholesale market and now will be able to deliver to local retailers and restaurants.
“Everybody we’ve talked to is real excited about it,” he says. “We see tremendous demand.” —Stephanie RIegel