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Bu s i n e s s / I n d u s t r y

Al o o ka ts o meo f t h ewo r kt h a t g o e so ni nt h e T e c h eAr e a


Profile 2014

business / industry a look at some of the work that goes on in the teche area

Celebrating Our Community

a special section of The Daily Iberian / Thursday, February 13, 2014

Turning old furniture into new at Minuteman

NEAL MCCLELLAND / THE DAILY IBERIAN

After attending Minuteman restoration seminars, James Patout opened his business, which includes the Minuteman name. He asked and received permission to use the name.

Career change marks beginning of restoration business BY NEAL MCCLELLAND

A THE DAILY IBERIAN

downturn in the oilfield industry in the late 1980s led James Patout to a career change. Patout had always dabbled in furniture repair but one day was reading in a magazine about a company that was selling restored furniture and also giving seminars on how to do restoration. “I went to a couple of their seminars and then bought their supplies,” said Patout. “The company was Minuteman and I was looking for a name for my company so I asked to use their name and they gave me permission.” And so Minuteman Furniture Restoration was formed in 1988, and for the past 26 years, Patout has been restoring furniture in the area. “Right around 1988, I had a friend of mine with a sign company in this building,” said Patout. “He went out of business and the building became available and I knew that this was the perfect place to do what I do.” And so since then, Minuteman has been located at 138 Julia St., handling all sorts of furniture restoration and repair. Patout had a basic knowledge of furniture repair when he started, but after attending the seminars at the beginning of his new career, he went into it all the way. “The majority of my business has been churches,” said Patout, who added that he has restored church pews in about 20 churches since he started the business, in cities from Centerville to Opelousas. “At one time, I was picking up a couple of churches a year.” SEE MINUTEMAN, PAGE 3

NEAL MCCLELLAND / THE DAILY IBERIAN

James Patout, shown at Minuteman Restoration, which he has owned since the late 1980s, says he’s always been interested in wood.

‘The majority of my business has been churches. At one time, I was picking up a couple of churches a year.’ NEAL MCCLELLAND / THE DAILY IBERIAN

Minuteman Restoration takes old furniture and transforms it into a new look under the direction of owner James Patout.

James Patout Minuteman Furniture Restoration owner

O

INSIDE

Shipping it out

Cozy, comfortable Looking to learn

At Pack ’N’ Mail, people can send a little bit of home to whoever may have left and is longing for a taste of king cake, crawfish or boudin. Actually, the local business ships just about anything, if it’s legally OK.

First opened as part of a bus stop in 1927, the Yellow Bowl Restaurant in Jeanerette has been serving seafood dishes and more in a friendly family setting.

People of all ages have sought out the Slyvan Learning Center in New Iberia to further their education. For three decades, the center’s staffers have evaluated the student and taught accordingly.

• Page 3

• Page 6

• Page 5


2 02.13.14 BUSINESS PROFILE

Page 2 / Thursday, February 13, 2014 / The Daily Iberian

Profile 2014 / Celebrating Our Community

business / industry

‘Stained concrete in general looks good. It flows with the house, but at a fraction of the cost.’ Keefe duhon new iberia resident & concrete revolution owner

n

Concrete proof it can be different

McKenzie WoMacK / the daily iberian

new Iberian Keefe duhon mastered the art of painting concrete to make it look like wood, a technique he first saw in Florida.

A local man has started a Concrete Revolution in floor designs BY MCKENZIE WOMACK THE DAILY IBERIAN

K

eefe Duhon was sitting at a restaurant in Florida when he noticed the “wood” floors weren’t really made of wood. “I went to Destin with my family and went into a restaurant, Cheeseburger in Paradise, and the floors were all like wood,” Duhon said. “It was wood planks, but it was concrete.” Soon after, he started researching more about the craft and working with concrete. Four years ago, at the age of 24, he opened his own business, Concrete Revolution. The company uses concrete and “transforms it into masterpieces,” Duhon said. The decorative concrete can be used on pool decks, countertops and floors, and Duhon can even stain the concrete to look like wood.

He started his company out of his truck in New Iberia. He had no trailer. He built up his equipment supply as he finished a job and could afford new equipment. Duhon, 28, and his three employees now do about eight houses a week, and Duhon can customize floors with designs or patterns. He can create customer logos or make the concrete look like tile with texture overlays. He also can use texture overlays to make the concrete look like slate, brick or flagstone, Duhon said. He learned how to create different techniques by trial and error. “I took every piece of concrete at my house and I played with it … I created sample boards until I mastered the technique,” he said. “The art runs in my blood. … It’s second nature to me. I just took the materials and the products and got familiar with them to create these things with

‘It’s obvious he has a passion for what he does. He loves what he does.’ Bill Schoeffler Schoeffler built homes owner

n the art skills I have.” His job also gives him brushes with celebrities. Duhon is working on swamp pop singer/musician Wayne Toups’ house and “Swamp People” hunters Troy Landry and son Jacob Landry. Duhon is working on Jacob Landry’s whole house but is creating a familiar design for the hunter in his party room. “We’re doing alligator tracks

Index

in the floor in the party room. It will be like an alligator walked across the floor,” Duhon said. He loves his job because it’s something different every day, Duhon said. “You get a feeling of appreciation when you finish a job and do a good job,” he said. “How happy the customers are, it gives you more of a drive to go harder and try to see what else can be done. What else can I do to draw more people into this? I’m always looking for ideas.” Making errors is how he learned to perfect his craft, Duhon said. “Not every job is perfect. I didn’t hit home runs on every job. But we learned. What we do today is learning from mistakes and how we can do it to where we don’t have those mistakes,” he said. “We made mistakes at the beginning. We learned from our mistakes and

that’s what got us where we are today. It’s one of those things — you learn from your mistakes.” Builder Bill Schoeffler, owner of Schoeffler Built Homes, has been working with Duhon for about a year. “We had a mutual friend,” Schoeffler said. “He knew I was a builder … He showed me some of his work. I really thought he was very innovative and did quality work.” The two have completed five or six houses together, he said. “It’s obvious he has a passion for what he does,” Schoeffler said. “He loves what he does. I think it’s an artistic avenue for him.” Schoeffler said Duhon is respectful of other people’s work. “When he comes into a house, everyone’s work is finished. He’s one of the last people in a house ,” Schoeffler said. “He does that well. He protects the place very well.”

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Once he found the perfect place for his furniture restoration business, James Patout never looked back.

The center’s director says it is important to assess the student before beginning the education process.

— PAGE 1

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Concrete Revolution

Yellow Bowl Restaurant

Keefe Duhon stains concrete so that it looks like wood, a decorative effect he first saw in Florida and took to New Iberia.

Preserving a family atmosphere and serving lip-smacking good seafood is the mainstay of this eatery.

— THIS PAGE

— PAGE 6

Pack ’N’ Mail

Pop-N-Fuel

Who are you going to call to get king cakes and such shipped around the country? Try Tony Crabtree’s business.

Vietnamese native Hung Doan’s convenience store fills a niche with its non-ethanol gasoline.

— PAGE 3

— PAGE 7

Napier Sheet Metal

St. John Restaurant

A company that specializes in roofing for the sugar and carbon black industries thrives in Jeanerette.

When someone who flourishes in the beef business buys a restaurant, it’s natural to add beef to the menu.

— PAGE 4

— PAGE 8

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3 02.13.14 BUSINESS PROFILE

business / industry

Profile 2014 / Celebrating Our Community

The Daily Iberian / Thursday, February 13, 2014 / Page 3

Pack ’N’ Mail answers shipping needs ington, D.C., we ship a lot of boudin, alligator, crawfish and Mardi Gras s South Louisiana costumes. Mardi Gras is real big in Colorado. residents move away from the state Mardi Gras is real big in California. We ship a lot for other pursuits, they of things there (during still want to take a little Mardi Gras season).” bit of home with them. Mardi Gras, in fact, Those expatriates often turn to family and is the second biggest friends to have a taste of season for Pack ’N’ Mail, home sent to them, from after the Christmas season. That season extends king cakes to boudin until March because of to crawfish, and New a number of reasons, inIberia’s Pack ’N’ Mail cluding people being unShipping Center helps able to return home as fill those needs. expected due to weather, Just don’t ask to send King Cakes overseas. Or school or business reasons, Crabtree said. live crawfish anywhere, “Normally within a for that matter. Shipweek of Christmas, Marping food items out of di Gras (season) starts the country is illegal and we start shipping in most instances, and shipping live crawfish is (Mardi Gras items),” he said. “King Cakes are the against company policy, biggest (number of items Pack ’N’ Mail owner shipped for Mardi Gras), Tony Crabtree said. without question.” “We ship a lot of Holidays such as Mothfrozen and refrigerated er’s Day and the return food — boudin, shrimp, to school at the end of crawfish,” Crabtree said. “There are a lot of people summer help keep Pack from here who’ve relocat- ’N’ Mail busy with few ed and can’t get that kind true slow times, Crabtree said. Big events often of food where they live. boost business more. “When they have the “When the Saints went Mardi Gras ball in Wash-

BY CHRIS LANDRY THE DAILY IBERIAN

A

CHRIS LANDRY / THE DAILY IBERIAN

Catina Touchet, left, and Annie Boudreaux arrange candles for display at Pack ’N’ Mail in New Iberia.

to the Super Bowl, it was like Christmas all over again,” he said. “We were shipping jerseys, shirts, memorabilia.” Food items are nextday only for Pack ’N’ Mail, Crabtree says, because he doesn’t want people to get food that isn’t in the condition it was meant to be — frozen/cooled items tend to get soggy, he said, and he doesn’t want disappointed customers on the other end. Crawfish is another big item in demand for shipping around the country, but only frozen or refrigerated mudbugs are shipped. “Live crawfish is fine on a local basis but you can’t ship them (and expect to have them arrive in good shape),” Crabtree said. “We did have a company ship 300 pounds of (refrigerated) crawfish for a party in Vail, Colo.” Catina Touchet has worked at Pack ’N’ Mail for a dozen years, and Annie Boudreaux for six. They’ve seen some interesting items come in for shipping. “The strangest things for me are the animal heads, the mounted heads, because I really don’t care for those,” Touchet said. “Some look good, some do not look good.” Customers can either package items themselves or ask the company to package the items for shipping. “If they do come in with a box and they have packed it themselves, you can tell when they’re fibbing a little bit about what’s inside, so we cut the package open right in front of them, just to

MINUTEMAN: Church pews restored

make sure, because we can get fined for things we’re not supposed to ship.” Cremains (cremated remains) also are on the can’tlegally-beshipped list, and guns are a no-no since 9/11. Formerly, people going on hunting trips out of state often would have their guns shipped ahead of time so they wouldn’t have to deal with trying to get them on flights, Crabtree CHRIS LANDRY / THE DAILY IBERIAN said. Catina Touchet weighs a package for shipping at Pack ‘N’ Mail in New Stricter Iberia. regulataxation issues, Crabtree and regulations the big tions since the 2001 shipping companies like terrorist attacks on New noted. “New York City has an extra tax for each UPS and Fed-Ex impose York and Washington, on shops like Pack ’N’ package of cigarettes. D.C., have changed that. Mail, as well as laws conSo people who have Once he was asked to relatives or kids going to cerning what items can ship a gun as part of be shipped where and school there can’t ship evidence in a criminal what cannot be shipped. cartons of cigarettes. case by a law enforce“There’s a lot of things There are huge fines for ment office, but couldn’t I would consider not that shipping alcohol to other because it’s against the states, for example. Food big a deal — if I can buy law. Those items have is a no-no for going outit at the store here, why to be sent by bonded, of-country. can’t I ship it? But it’s licensed gun dealers, “Most food items are not not up to us.” Crabtree said. allowed in other countries, In fact, one of the big Cigarettes can no aspects of his business longer be shipped to SEE SHIPPING, PAGE 4 is knowing the rules many states because of

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The services that Minuteman offers range from furniture repair and restoration, from stripping and refinishing wood to repairing damage to wooden furniture. “Some of the furniture that we get in here you have to take the whole thing apart joint by joint and reglue everything together again. Then strip it, sand it and refinish it,” said Patout, who is 63 years old. “Anything with wood we can repair. And if it’s missing chunks we can splice a new section. We can even repair something with Bondo and make it look like wood.” Patout said the most extensive job at his business so far is one he is working on: restoring the pews in St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church in St. Martinville. “It had a bunch of painted pews and we have to get all that paint off of it and they want to back to the original cypress look,” said Patout. “We’re halfway done with it. What we have to do is take a pew in, taking it all apart, stripping it, finishing it and putting it back it.” Entering the Minuteman building in New Iberia, there is a arch with the

‘I’ve always liked working with wood, and that’s how I got started and I’ve been doing it ever since.’ James Patout Minuteman Furniture Restoration owner

words “male stripper on duty.” Patout said it was a gift from his wife’s uncle after doing a repair and it’s been the unofficial motto for the past 20 years. “I’ve always been interested in wood and I remodeled my house,” said Patout. “I’ve always liked working with wood, and that’s how I got started and I’ve been doing it ever since.” Patout, along with his sons, plans to continue in the business for a long time and continue restoring and refinishing furniture and bring out its beauty.

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4 02.13.14 BUSINESS PROFILE

Page 4 / Thursday, February 13, 2014 / The Daily Iberian

Profile 2014 / Celebrating Our Community

business / industry SHIPPING: Demand From PaGe 3

From left, Patrick Napier, Brian Napier, Josh

period, even in Canada,” Crabtree said. “Agricultural items, for some states it’s a felony (to ship from another state). You can’t ship chocolate to France. You can’t ship chocolate to Spain. You can’t ship an Advil to Spain. You can’t ship clothes to Mexico if it doesn’t have a label in Spanish. Products made in Asia are not allowed in Mexico.” And taxation comes into play when shipping internationally. Many people are unaware that taxes often are due upon receipt of items shipped overseas, even as gifts, Crabtree said. The big increase in Internet purchases also has Lee BaLL / The DaiLy iBerian Napier and Ben Napier at Napier Sheet metal. had an unforeseen effect on shippers. Companies like Amazon send items with prepaid return postage labels, Crabtree explained. Twenty years ago 40 returns a month to grow,” he said. Duplantis, husband of additional part-time emwould have been a lot. Now Pat Napier, 79, said he Waveland Napier, was proployees during the busier 1,200 a month is common — is pleased the business prietor from 1937 to 1966. time of the year. all with no payment to Pack remained in Jeanerette Brian Napier said he “It makes me proud to ’N’ Mail. Because of that, and could withstand the started working for the have celebrated 20 years the business expanded its many economic declines company in 1976 after in January as owner of services in unexpected direcover the years. graduating from high the business, especially tions since it opened nearly “During the time of the school. in this day and age with 20 years ago. Great Depression there “I think the business hard times. It was gratifyCustomer demand has wasn’t any more work has been so successful ing for me when the comled to an expanded line of here, so my grandfather pany hit the million dollar because we have lot of candles sold in the shop. sold the business to my repeat customers. Our mark in sales. We were People also can pay electric customers have found out Uncle Alcide so he could hovering around that and gas, cable and satellite that we offer good service, go to Cuba and Puerto number for a while, but and many other bills at the Rico to find work in the couldn’t reach it. I’m very a good product and we store. Pack ’N’ Mail also are willing to back up our sugar industry. The busiproud to know that I can takes fingerprints to use for ness sustained many product,” he said. keep the family business I.D.’s, as required in some He remains hopeful that economic hardships, but I operating,” he said. states for anyone working never thought the company with children, or in certain “I try to hit that goal ev- his son Josh and nephew would reach the millionery year. If we can do this, Ben Napier, who both jobs in financial institudollar mark in sales,” said I know we can continue to work in the family busitions, Crabtree said. the elder Napier. ness, will one day take survive.” But shipping remains “I give credit to God. Napier said the services over the operations. the core of the business, I’ve been blessed with a “At a time when technolthe company provides six days a week, and with wonderful family and a ogy and bigger companies haven’t changed much it customer service that since the business opened are swallowing up many of son who has been able to includes getting to know the smaller businesses, we successfully run the famin 1893 — only the instalregulars and making sure are fortunate to still be oper- ily business. I hope the lation materials. people have kept a copy of ating as a family business in business can continue to His father, Pat Napier, the tracking numbers for a small town and continuing remain in the family.” owned and operated the their packages. business from 1967 to 1993 and his great-uncle Alcide

Napier Sheet Metal proud of its past BY KARMA CHAMPAGNE THE DAILY IBERIAN

J

EANERETTE — At a time when the country was facing economic woes with commodities devaluating, widespread business failures and soaring unemployment as a result of the financial Panic of 1893 and the New York Stock Exchange market crash, Fred Napier was busy setting up a small business in his hometown of Jeanerette. His decision to start up Napier Sheet Metal in 1893 during a period when thousands of businesses were closing its doors was precarious, but the outcome was positive — 121 years later the business is still thriving and remains within the Napier family. Brian Napier, 55, owner of Napier Sheet Metal for the past 20 years, speaks proudly of the business his great-grandfather

established and the company’s ability to persevere through many economic hardships, including the Great Depression. The company, which specializes in commercial and industrial roofing for the sugar and carbon black industries, still provides residential services while operating from a small office and warehouse located on Main Street in Jeanerette. Four generations of Napier family members have worked to keep the family business operating through many economic downturns. A business that started on a small scale with only one employee has grown into a company that has reached the $1 million mark in annual sales in 2006. Napier Sheet Metal services businesses across the southern portion of the state and operates with nine full-time employees and

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business / industry Profile 2014 / Celebrating Our Community The Daily Iberian / Thursday, February 13, 2014 / Page 5

David Westmorland, center, hands a computer tablet to Noah Louviere, left,

Lee BaLL / The DaiLy iBerian

as Hunter Broussard, at right, works on lessons recently at Sylvan Learning Center.

Sylvan turns on light bulbs of education BY SARAH BLANCHARD The Daily iberian

G

rade-school students and adults furthering their education have looked to Sylvan Learning Center in New Iberia for help for nearly three decades. On an average afternoon, approximately two dozen students fill the center on Parkview Drive to receive assistance with remedial work or skills tests, said center director Kerry Abshire. When the students begin at the center, they meet with the director and the staff to be assessed. The assessment tells them in what areas they may need more practice, said Abshire, who began serving as director in December.

“It’s just like a physician. You can’t prescribe anything until you know what the issue is,” he said. “Only then can we go from there and tell the parent where the child may have gaps in academics and bring them up to speed.” Some parents have students in higher-performing schools, Abshire said, so the parents may be interested in enrolling them in excelled programs to bring them above their academic levels. The students are paired with instructors, usually two to three students per instructor, Abshire said. He said they try to match students with the instructor of his or her choice to make for better learning experiences. “That’s one of the things that makes it a

good experience for the kids because they find a good instructor they like and we do everything in our power to pair them,” Abshire said. “It’s somebody they can relate to.” Instructor Olga Louviere taught elementary school for 33 years in Iberia Parish before retiring and working part-time at the center. Louviere’s nephew attended tutoring sessions at Sylvan, so she looked into the program, she said. After more than a decade at the center, she said she still believes in using positive behavior with the students to get positive results. Sylvan’s goal is to build confidence and self esteem through positive behavior, which is why

the program works, she said. “I feel if the children’s self-esteem is built up, they have confidence that they can succeed in their school work away from Sylvan,” Louviere said. “So, I feel good about helping them achieve this confidence in themselves.” Abshire, who began with Sylvan as an instructor, said he has worked with students of all ages, including some enrolled in university courses. He said he also has worked with men already in the workforce who needed skills and training on how to fill out paperwork. “It’s really diverse,” Abshire said. “It’s really, really different, but as an educator you do what you have to do and you enjoy seeing those light bulbs come on for anyone, regardless of their age.” The program was flourishing, but as the economy began to change and money grew tight, the number of participants decreased, the director said. Because the extracurricular learning is not a necessity, it often was eliminated. However, Abshire said his goal for this year is to increase the center’s membership, and he’s confident he can do it. Currently, about 40 students are enrolled in their programs, but ultimately he would like to see the number closer to 80.

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Olga Louviere, left, instructs Diamond Lambur recently at the Sylvan Learning Center.


6 02.13.14 BUSINESS PROFILE

Page 6 / Thursday, February 13, 2014 / The Daily Iberian

business / industry

Profile 2014 / Celebrating Our Community

Old-time, mom-pop kind of place

Lee BaLL / The DaiLy iBerian

From left, Ed Chase, Eric Duplantis, Marsha McNulty and Russel Cremaldi have lunch at the Yellow Bowl Restaurant.

Yellow Bowl Restaurant has been in family for generations BY SARAH BLANCHARD THE DAILY IBERIAN

J

EANERETTE — The Yellow Bowl Restaurant in Jeanerette has served the Teche Area for almost 60 years, and the generations of owners have worked to preserve its cozy and comfortable atmosphere. The business was designed and built in 1927 by an architect who, with his wife, owned and operated it as a bus stop for Greyhound buses. Owner Colleen Roberts Hulin said her parents bought it and opened the restaurant in 1953 and established what the business is today. Hulin said her father, a native of Breaux Bridge, learned how to cook crawfish bisque, fried crawfish and other seafood dishes. There was little competition among other seafood restaurants, she said, so the business excelled. “No one had crawfish. It just wasn’t something people looked for, but then it just took off,” Hulin said. Hulin, one of five children, said she often was involved in the restaurant, whether it was waiting tables, washing dishes, bussing tables or filling the tartar sauce containers. She said any job in the restaurant that needed to be done, the children would help.

In 1988 her parents sold the restaurant to her brother. She and her husband, T.K. Hulin, purchased the restaurant 14 years ago from her brother. Since then, she has been adamant about preserving the family friendly atmosphere and attracting the same generations of customers. Lee BaLL / The DaiLy iBerian “We have loyal Brittany Landry has been serving food and drinks for about customers. We saw eight years at the Yellow Bowl Restaurant. the grandparents, “Support them and they’ll support you.” the parents and now we’re seeing the Local and out-of-town customers grandchildren,” Hulin said. “We’re seeing generations. I see that all the time.” continue to support the business, Hulin said. Since taking over 14 years ago, Hulin said she wanted to keep a lot of sales have increased each year despite the same practices in place that her partraffic moving toward U.S. 90 and new ents initiated, such as stressing the need restaurants at Cypress Bayou Casino in for cleanliness in the restaurant. Most Charenton, she said. importantly, she wanted to ensure the “We’re really out of the way and ingredients were local and fresh. we’re not on the main drag,” Hulin said. “I probably pay a little more than other “We have a lot of competition, but it places do, but it’s to get better quality. We has stayed alive and it has prospered. I want Louisiana crawfish and local sugar think people just enjoy that it’s comfortfrom sugar cane farmers,” she said.

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7 02.13.14 BUSINESS PROFILE

business / industry

The Daily Iberian / Thursday, February 13, 2014 / Page 7

Profile 2014 / Celebrating Our Community

Ethanol-free gas a niche for store owner BY DWAYNE FATHERREE THE DAILY IBERIAN

I

t looks just like many other gas stations and convenience stores. Red-and-black painted pumps wait attentively under sheet metal awnings, with a beige convenience store bunker overseeing the tableau. Located near downtown New Iberia, the incessant whoosh of passing cars is broken only by the intermittent squeak and bump of turning tires scaling the curb as vehicles pull in to top off. But despite its blandness, it is different. That difference is denoted in the firecracker red letters proclaiming “NO ETHANOL” on the pumps at Pop-N-Fuel. In a time when every major oil company has pushed ethanol-flavored fuels to the forefront, some independent operators have found a niche. Instead of moving forward with the “latest and greatest” that the petrochemical industry has to offer, they have found a clientele for a slightly less green alternative. For Hung Doan, of New Iberia, owner of Pop-NFuel, the added expense of securing non-ethanol fuels for his operation has been well worth it. “Non-ethanol gas costs more, especially when they only come out for one store,” Doan said. “As I know it, the company stores, they have to buy ethanol gas. But the ones that are single owners, they can sell the non-ethanol gas.” The controversy over ethanol fuels has been around for decades. Proponents claim that the alcohol-enhanced fuels are more environmen-

dwayne fatherree / the daily iberian

Pop-N-Fuel has been the only business Hung Doan has had since he came to the United States from his native Vietnam in 1980. tally viable and help to reduce strain on the U.S. petroleum supply. Detractors say that, aside from ethanol requiring more energy to produce than it provides, the fuel is more damaging to engines and lowers vehicle mileage. But much of the argument over the right or wrong of ethanol-based or enhanced fuels was ended when the federal government enforced its Renewable Fuel Standards. Those regulations require that refiners produce a certain amount of ethanol. The standards also require that urban areas sell only fuels with ethanol to reduce greenhouse gasses. Doan says many of his customers use the fuel

specifically for their boats and off-road vehicles, two categories of vehicles whose owners have historically said they have issues with ethanol fuels. “Because of the weather, it has been slow lately,” Doan said. “When it gets better and people are going out more, it will pick up.” Steve Boyd, senior managing director for Sun Coast Resources, which provides non-ethanol fuel wholesale to Pop-N-Fuel, said the argument over ethanol and non-ethanol fuels has been going on since ethanol was first introduced. “We have ethanol and biomass, or biofuels. We’ve had ethanol enhanced fuels for decades,” Boyd said. “In small towns,

specifically rural America, people say ethanol hurts small engines. They’ve said it is especially hard on plastic and rubber components. I don’t agree with that, but that’s what they say. Research doesn’t support that.” He did say, however, that the ethanol fuels have less energy in BTUs per gallon, and that they do need more care than nonethanol fuels. “Ethanol has an affinity to water, so have to make sure tanks are clean and dry,” Boyd said. “If you put gas with ethanol in a small engine, like a lawnmower or a power washer, and leave it to set up over the off season, it becomes

hard to start, but there are conditioners you can get to help with that.” For Doan, he said the popular perception that the higher energy content of the non-ethanol fuel is better for small engines has helped its sales for automobiles, too. One potential market, the antique car enthusiast crowd, has been less active at Pop-N-Fuel’s pumps. “Maybe one or two I see come in with the classic vehicles for gas,” Doan said. “But not so much.” Doan first came to the United States from Vietnam in 1980. Pop-N-Fuel is his only business, but it has been successful for

him — successful enough for him to see his children through college. “Since I came from Vietnam, this is the only business I had,” Doan said. The current location at the corner of St. Peter and Center streets is the second, after he moved the store some six years ago. And, for the foreseeable future until federal regulations or a shortage of non-ethanol fuel forces him to change, he will continue to provide the ethanol-free gasoline for his customers. “I have to keep the gas now for the people who ask for it,” Doan said. “A lot of people come here for it.”

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The restaurants are owned and operated by the Miller family which includes Rudy, Freda, Larry and Denise. The family opened their first McDonald’s in 1982, followed by Franklin in 1989, St. Martinville in 1990, Kaplan in 1996, and the New Iberia stores in 1996,1997,1998, and 2001. The last store opened was the Broussard New Iberia location in 2008. There is interest to expand in the area over the next few years as the market grows. McDonald’s is undergoing a wide scale modernization and the Millers are participating heavily, reinvesting over $4 million over the past few years into the restaurants. It started with Abbeville’s remodel in 2011, the rebuilding of the main street New Iberia restaurant, then followed by St. Martinville(2012), New Iberia/ Walmart and then recently, Franklin(2013). Plans are in the works for the other New Iberia locations and Franklin. The Millers are proud of their community efforts and were recently awarded the 2013 Promotion award for their local store marketing efforts because of their locally produced billboards, radio commericials, school programs, signage community involvement. Even though they are considered a small business, they employ over 500 full and part time employees with a payroll of over $6 million, not to mention the economic impact expected by the construction projects through jobs, sales taxes, permits and other related costs. XNLV137394


8 02.13.14 BUSINESS PROFILE

Page 8 / Thursday, February 13, 2014 / The Daily Iberian

business / industry

Profile 2014 / Celebrating Our Community

Greener pastures ahead for St. John BY MCKENZIE WOMACK

‘We promote, sell and cook what we raise, but it’s not actually raised at our place.’

THE DAILY IBERIAN

S

T. MARTINVILLE — St. John Restaurant has been owned by Chip Durand, 56, only for two and a half years, but it is moving to the city’s festival grounds and doubling its size. Durand bought the restaurant from Annette Baudoin after her husband, Craig, the chef, died at a young age. “Chef Craig,” as Durand calls him, mainly was specializing in seafood, but Durand has been in the beef business his entire life. He decided to expand the menu to include his own speciality. “My thought was to keep his seafood recipes and leave everything on that side as it was and to bring in an expanded beef menu,” he said. “From there, it’s been growing every time we turn around.” Right now, the restaurant on Bridge Street seats 48 people. Once the eatery moves to its new location, that number will about double because the restaurant will have a main dining room and additional areas for group parties and receptions, Durand said. The St. Martinville City Council approved Feb. 3 selling 0.65 acres of land, appraised at $74,000, located at the intersection of New Market and East Hamilton streets to Durand. The property is connected to the city’s festival grounds. St. Martinville City Councilman Mike Fuselier said Durand’s restaurant will help draw people to the

Chip Durand St. John restaurant owner

n sell and cook what we raise, but it’s not actually raised on our place.” Durand said many of his customers aren’t from St. Martinville. “We get a lot of people from surrounding communities,” he said. “This past weekend we had a couple Lee BaLL / The DaiLy iBerian that drove in (from MissisChip Durand poses inside his St. John Restaurant. includes his mother, former State Sen. Sydnie Mae sippi) … For their anniversary, they both decided The family photo on the wall of an alligator hunt Durand. they wanted to come eat with us. They didn’t even ity projects, it can work. That’s what we’re excited stay the night. They were just driving in to eat.” about,” he said. “A place He said people from like St. John has proven Baton Rouge, New itself and will only get Orleans, Alexandria and bigger.” even Lake Charles will Durand is a sixth-generation producer of beef. drive in just to eat at his restaurant. He owns Durand Ranch For the expanded and Durand Cattle Co. He raises seed stock to go restaurant, the building back into production, Du- he purchased from the city is an old warehouse rand said. They are sold he and his wife, Lucy, are for breeding purposes. “We’re not raising beef planning to convert. “The building is a shed, for the meat market,” he said. “We raise bulls that which will stay pretty close to the rustic look will produce the kind of that it has, but it’s going calves that the market is to give us more room to looking for.” do the things that we’ve Durand doesn’t use Lee BaLL / The DaiLy iBerian been trying to do in a Chip Durand relaxes in front of the new restaurant location, which faces the Bayou Teche. the beef he raises in his smaller building,” Durestaurant. rand said. “We raise Angus and to do a real quality place. success shows that qualgrounds. He expects the new brangus cattle. The beef “His restaurant will be It’s just going to be a win- ity places can succeed in that we buy is exclusively location to be open in six win, both for the him and St. Martinville. the gateway into the fescertified Angus beef,” Du- months to a year. “With the right busithe city.” tival grounds,” Fuselier nesses and the right qual- rand said. “We promote, Fuselier said Durand’s said. “I know he’s going

When

community and passion

u n i t e, c o m pa s s i o n f l o u r i s h e s . IBERIA MEDICAL CENTER

M i c h e l l e G l a t t e r, N o l a n A n t o i n e , R i c h a r d G u i d r y , J u a n i t a L e w i s a n d Y v e t t e R o m e r o

At IMC we have a passion for healing and a great love for our community. These things unite in the work we do in the hospital and out among our neighbors. You’ll find our compassion every fourth Wednesday of the month when we help serve free lunches at St. Francis Diner. You’ll find it in the faces and actions of every IMC employee. Compassion. One of the great things that helps us best care for you. 2315 e. m

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