Martin Wine Cellar is set to open a new store at 3827 Baronne St. on Friday, more than nine years after its original Uptown location was flooded during Hurricane Katrina.
“We can’t wait to come back,” said Cedric Martin, president and owner. “There’s a lot of activity on Baronne Street now. It’s become a little shopping mecca.”
Martin got its start in 1946 on Baronne Street. Since Katrina, the store, which sells wine, spirits, craft beers and cheese, has operated a temporary New Orleans location on Magazine Street. That store will close Friday.
The new Uptown store will be 14,000 square feet, larger than the 10,000-square-foot original location, but about the same size as the Martin Wine Cellar in Metairie. “It’s a lot more efficient and more modern than the old store was,” Martin said. About 60 employees will work in the store.
Along with providing more of a selection of alcoholic beverages and cheeses, the larger space will allow Martin to expand its catering business. The catering business offers everything from appetizers to salads, and from sandwiches to pasta dishes. Free sandwich and entree deliveries will be offered to nearby homes and businesses.
Although the Uptown store is the same size as the Metairie store and has a similar exterior, there are differences inside. Wine and liquor will be in the front of the store, with a bistro/deli in the back.
After Katrina, Martin branched out and opened stores in Baton Rouge and Mandeville. “Those locations worked out real well for us,” Martin said. “They allowed seasoned employees to stay with us until we could reopen Uptown.”
The new locations helped Martin regain its footing while plans could be drawn up for a new Uptown store. The old Baronne Street store was demolished in fall 2010, but there were delays with rebuilding because of the national recession.
“When the economy went south, we thought we might have overdesigned the store,” Martin said. “It took us a year to redesign it.”
The new store was funded by Whitney Bank, and the Louisiana Office of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit with federal Community Development Block Grant funds provided to the state for recovery from Katrina and Rita.
Construction on the Uptown store resumed in earnest in April. F.H. Myers Construction was the contractor, and Martin credited them with finishing the store in eight months. “We had a most effective contractor,” he said.
Martin Wine Cellar will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.