The Big Squeezy is planning to open three new stores this year in south Louisiana: one in Baton Rouge to replace its location on Government Street shuttered earlier this year, one in New Orleans and one along the Interstate 10 corridor near Prairieville or Gonzales.
The company is also planning to open three new stores in owner Ash Shoukry’s native California, where much of the company’s fresh produce is sourced.
Shoukry, who’s been riding out the pandemic in California, says The Big Squeezy was able to remain open doing takeout business throughout stay-at-home orders in both Louisiana and California and has continued to do a brisk business.
“We’re not only recession proof but virus proof,” he says. “Though we’ve had to change the way we deliver our produce and change the way we get it to our customer base, our customers have really enjoyed it.”
It’s been nearly five years since Shoukry bought into the company that Kim Matsko and Samir Abdo founded in 2014, offering cold-pressed juices and smoothies.
Since then, The Big Squeezy has grown to include a total of nine locations in Baton Rouge, Hammond and Mandeville.
The company’s new Louisiana locations are planned for the University of Louisiana campus in Lafayette and St Charles Street in the New Orleans Central Business District.
As for the next Baton Rouge store, Shoukry isn’t ready to say where he’s hoping to relocate. The store will replace a Mid City location that was operating in White Star Market until late last year, when its contract at the food hall expired.
Early this year, it relocated to a space on Government Street near Baton Rouge High School but the location was challenging, in part because of limited parking and construction of the Government Street Road diet.
“We always intended for it to be a temporary location and it never really took off,” he says.