Five decades of Claiborne Hill

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A customer peruses his options at the hot bar in Claiborne Hill

A customer enjoying his options at the hot bar in Claiborne Hill

Typically, the businesses that withstands the test of time are those with great tradition, and Claiborne Hill is an example.
Since 1963, Garrett Acquistapace’s family has run Claiborne Hill.
Claiborne Hill has been in the family since it was established, and there are no plans to change that.
“My grandfather started the grocery store in 1963 in Covington, LA. It is pretty amazing what they accomplished, especially back then. Essentially, it was the first Walmart of [that] area,” said Acquistapace.
Acquistapace has been the store manager of Claiborne Hill’s Picayune location for 15 of its 33-year lifespan.
“It’s a challenge to run your own store. However, every day is different, and that’s what keeps me going. I don’t know how to put it in words, but it’s kind of like being an action junkie. I’m addicted to the excitement of working and really enjoy what I do,” said Acquistapace.
He adds that the best part of owning a grocery store is the interactions with customers.
“The store is not too big and not too small. We try to make a ‘homie’ feel to it, giving the store personality which is something you can’t get from going to a big franchise,” said Acquistapace.
The store provides an abundance of products and departments, such as produce, meat, seafood, bakery, and deli, all at a reasonable price, said Acquistapace.
The Acquistapace family decided to open a Claiborne Hill in Picayune in 1982, due to the perfect location.
The store is soon to expand, said Acquistapace, and will include additional space to the frozen and deli departments as well as the dairy and beer sections.
“The expansion will be 2,500 square feet. The purpose of this is so we can offer even more to our customers,” said Acquistapace.
Three years ago, the family opened a new location in Waveland, which is receiving positive reviews.
“Opening the store in Waveland was fun because we got to work with an empty slate essentially. We tried to emulate the store in Picayune and so far everything has been going well there,” said Acquistapace.
The store in Waveland is located on Highway 90.
Acquistapace is inspired by the saying, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
“I love doing what I do and don’t think I will ever quit. Once you quit, it’s human nature for it to be game over. Your mind needs to be working all the time and when you stop, that’s it, at least for me,” said Acquistapace.
His passion for the job helps him overcome the daily challenges he faces, said Acquistapace, whether it’s making sure he hires the right people and put them in the right position to succeed, or trying to have all the necessities available for the customers at a price that matches their expectations.
“Right when you think you’ve made it, you start to go backward. No matter what your profession is, you have to strive to grow every day,” said Acquistapace.
Acquistapace hopes to see the business stay in the family, and it might be too soon to tell what Claiborne Hill’s future is, but Acquistapace is assured that it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
Garrett’s father, David Acquistapace, is the current owner of Claiborne Hill.

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