Photo credit to Scott Clause, The Advertiser
In the economic downturn of the 1980s, Robert Cormier and Lawrence Menard (Uncle Brud) stood in a vacant parking lot in Scott, Louisiana, and began talking about new possibilities. More than 30 years later, this means to make ends meet has grown into one of the most sought after Cajun food suppliers in the United States. Still a major player in the everyday operations, you’d be hard-pressed not to see Cormier chatting with customers or talking business with his daughters, Penny, Dana, Nicky (the self-proclaimed favorite) and son, Damon. It’s a family affair, and this is how it all began: straight from the man himself, Mr. Robert Cormier.
Where’s your “place” in the Best Stop family?
I am Penny, Dana, Nicky and Damon’s dad and husband to Brunella.
How long have you been a part of The Best Stop and what are some of your responsibilities?
November 1, 1986, so 36 years and counting! I guess you can say I am “semi-retired”, but I still do the banking and check the registers twice a week. When Brud and I started, we worked hard, rarely taking a day off. He would open, and I would close. Our first week of boudin sales we made a little over 100 pounds. Today, we make more than 15,000 pounds a week.
My favorite part of what I do is visiting with our customers, some who have been coming to us from day one.
I’ve made a lot of close friends since opening our doors and maintaining those friendships, plus providing a quality product, is what it’s all about at the end of the day. If you work and you don’t like your job, it’s not worth it. You have to like what you are doing—and I not only like it, I love it.
What did you do before?
After high school, I moved to New Orleans and went to barber school. I was a barber for seven years. Then, I decided I didn’t want to cut hair anymore, so I decided to buy a grocery store and my wife and I managed it. Seven years after that, with the guidance from my father LP Cormier, I opened a construction business building residential homes. I learned how to do just about everything myself—framing concrete, electrical work, painting and sheetrocking. After I did that for a while, The Best Stop came to be. I have not had another job since.
What’s your favorite pastime outside of work?
Well, I would like to tell you, but my wife would kill me! So, I will keep that to myself. I love going to church with my family. We are very close, and the time spent with them is very important to me. I’m proud to be handing over the business to them.
What’s your favorite place to eat that isn’t The Best Stop?
Every Sunday, the entire family goes out to eat somewhere. With everyone being so busy during the week, we find it very important to make time for one another when we are not working. But, my favorite place to eat, minus The Best Stop? I would say Fezzo’s.
What’s your favorite thing to eat from The Best Stop?
After 36 years—still boudin. Cracklin is a close second.
Want to become a member of the extended Cormier family? Head down to Scott, Louisiana, where you not only can meet the man behind the boudin, but sink your teeth into their mouth-watering bites. Favorites include their pepper jack boudin balls, cracklin and boudin egg rolls—but it’s their time-tested original boudin that put The Best Stop on the map.