This month we wanted to focus our attention on one of the hardest working members of The Best Stop family: Dana Cormier. If you’ve met Dana, then you don’t need us to tell you that she’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves to get the tough jobs done. Dana has been working alongside the original founders, Robert Cormier and Lawrence Menard (Uncle Brud), since 1994. When Lawrence passed away in 2008, Dana took the reins and became the general manager of The Best Stop Supermarket. Read on to learn about Dana’s role in the Best Stop family and about how her exciting past led her to work for the family business.
Where’s your “place” in the Best Stop family?
I’m the second child of four. Damon’s the youngest, who is seven years younger than the third daughter, Nicky. I’m a little more than 2 years older than Nicky, making me about 9 years older than Damon. I suppose that makes me the middle child!
Unlike the other siblings, I didn’t like school very much. My older sister, Penny, was the bookworm of the family. I wasn’t. Instead, I spent my high school years getting involved with athletics, working hard and spending time with family.
How long have you been working with The Best Stop and what are some of your responsibilities?
I’ve been with The Best Stop for 24 years and that means I’ve done just about every job in the shop. When you’re doing a little bit of everything it can be hard to explain what exactly it is that you do, but basically I’m there to keep the show running smoothly. Whether I’m serving customers, managing employees or ensuring that the quality of our product stays consistent, everything I do is done to accomplish one goal: keeping the customers happy.
It’s hard work. I tell people all the time, if you want to get into the food industry you better have your running shoes on and you better show up to work early – there’s no shortage of things to do or problems to solve!
What did you do before?
When I got out of high school, I decided that I wanted to go into police work. So I went to work for the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Department, first as a dispatcher, and then as an undercover narcotics agent.
When I was a dispatcher, a sergeant walked up to me and said, “You look so young, it doesn’t look like you should even be working here! Have you ever considered working undercover narcotics?” To be honest, it took me by complete surprise. I didn’t really know how to respond because I had no idea what drugs even looked like – I’d never even seen marijuana in person! I told the sergeant this and he said, “Don’t worry, we’ll train you”
At first the sheriff was hesitant to let me work in narcotics because of the fact that I’m a woman. But I told him, “I’m not scared, and I’d like to give it my best. If it doesn’t work out, no big deal, I’ll go back to the radio.” But as it turns out, I was actually pretty good at the job. In only two years time I had closed so many cases that the department gifted me a Rolex watch and inducted me into The 100 Club, in recognition of my success undercover.
What drew you back to the family business?
Well… police work just didn’t pay. I was living in a house with four other roommates and I could barely afford a secondhand vehicle. One of the sergeants said to me, “Why don’t you go work for your dad? One day that’s gonna be yours.” The light just clicked and I said, “You know what, I think you’re right about that,” and I called up my dad and told him I wanted to come work at the store and he simply said, “I would love that.”
Things have been great ever since.
What is your favorite part of working with family?
It’s nice to be surrounded by reliable people who all have a vested interest in the business. At the end of the day, if something goes wrong I know I can call up my brother or sisters for help, and they’ll come through without hesitation. Plus, it’s fun working with family!
What’s your favorite thing to eat from The Best Stop?
Boudin. I eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner – that’s how we keep the taste consistent!
What is your favorite thing to do in Acadiana?
I have pretty simple hobbies like camping, fishing and beer drinking. All the fun stuff, basically. Oh, I used to DJ too! It started off as a hobby, but it very quickly turned into a job! People were calling me up every weekend to go DJ at weddings. I guess people liked my taste in music?
If you’re looking for food with as much character as Dana Cormier, then look no further than The Best Stop. Stop by today and try out an aptly named Dana Burger – a beef and pork patty packed with all the flavor and spice of our go-to boss woman (it’s also one of our best sellers). From our famous boudin to our fresh cracklins, there’s a reason The Best Stop is consistently voted best of Acadiana. Come find out why, and say hi to Dana Cormier while you’re at it!