Shopping center

Businesses at Southgate Shopping Center begin to reopen

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – Another step back to normal life after the storms: Businesses at Southgate Mall are beginning to reopen.

Texas State Optical has been back in business for five days now, and Market Basket is under construction and working hard to reopen for business.

Texas State Optical has spent the past year handing out orders to customers in their parking lot and even sometimes driving to drop off prescriptions. Their building, along with the entire Southgate Mall, was destroyed in Hurricane Laura.

Now they have welcomed clients into their remodeled office and are hosting appointments.

“It makes you feel human again to be back in your element — something you used to do every day,” said Jazmyne Abshire, head of Texas State Optical.

Their office was closed for two months after the pandemic shutdown and only reopened for three months when Hurricane Laura hit.

When their Ryan Street office was demolished, they were forced to close for 461 days. On November 1, they were finally able to reopen, a big celebration for optometrist Dr. Wayne McClure’s 33rd birthday at this Texas State Optical location.

Customers wasted no time in making an appointment to return.

“We sent an explosion of text messages last week and within five seconds of clicking that button, all of our lines were ringing and they didn’t stop for three hours,” Abshire said.

She says they are fully booked for December and into January.

Southgate Shopping Center was one of many areas devastated by Hurricane Laura. Market Basket’s roof was ripped off, signs littered the parking lot, and all but one of the businesses were forced to close for at least a year while they worked to rebuild.

Teams are still working hard to get the remaining businesses up and running. Dr McClure says he feels sympathy for the many local businesses still working to reopen.

“Our thoughts are with them,” said Dr. McClure. “But we’re so lucky to be back in business, and we’re so grateful.”

One of the businesses that has worked hard to reopen is Market Basket.

President and CEO Skylar Thompson said they are determined and eager to open this location.

“The community has stepped up and been very supportive at our other locations, so we can’t wait to open this one,” Thompson said.

The revamped consumer basket will be larger, especially in their dairy/bakery sector. It will also have more shelves for a wider variety of groceries, as well as a more modern look, similar to the Lake Street location.

Of course, even with store updates, they will still offer some of the local favorites.

“I know everyone is missing our smokehouse pudding and smokehouse sausage, and we can’t wait to get this up and running as soon as possible,” Thompson said.

Although the road has been difficult, they all agree that they are happy to open their doors again.

“We are very happy with its opening. We were very anxious, as was the community,” Thompson said.

“People want to come back, and it’s so nice to know that we’re providing a service they’re happy with,” Abshire said. “And after all this time, they come back to us.”

Copyright 2021 KPLC. All rights reserved.