What is your place in The Best Stop family?
I am the youngest of Robert and Brunella’s four children.
How long have you been working at The Best Stop?
Well, when The Best Stop opened I was in the second grade. I’d come in with dad and I’d help him here and there and then in high school I really started working. So, I worked through high school and then out of high school I trained and worked as a funeral director for Melancon Funeral Home in Carencro. I came back to The Best Stop in 2009 and I’ve been here ever since!
What do you do on a day-to-day basis here at The Best Stop?
During the week I get here between 5 and 5:30 a.m. to get everything cranked up — the pots on. The boudin processing room, I make sure those pots get going for 5:30 a.m. so we can serve hot boudin links, balls and cracklins right at 6 a.m. I make a list of everything that needs to be done during the day, things that we need to accomplish like catching up from a weekend or getting ahead for the weekend that’s coming or a holiday. I also order supplies that are needed for that.
What is an average day at The Best Stop for a customer?
We strive to be welcoming; make them glad they picked The Best Stop to stop in. Most of the time, they are staring at the coolers and freezers in awe and we chime in with a “Can I help you?” and they say “Oh, my gosh! There’s so much to choose from!” “Ok, well just let us know if you have any questions.” We like interacting with our customers because it makes for a better experience and it’s good to know what they like so we can make sure we’re doing everything we can for them.
What do you most enjoy about working at The Best Stop?
It’s a family business my dad started with his cousin in ‘86. It’s our livelihood. It’s what puts food on our table. Just to see the joy — the out of town people especially and some of the local people too— that it brings to them to come in and purchase good boudin or food or whatever they’re purchasing. I really enjoy working with the employees we have. We have a great team here. I enjoy watching them grow. We have a lot of college kids. Sometimes I pick on them and say “Why don’t you just quit college and just work here with us?” I enjoy seeing them grow as human beings and being the best they can be. So many of them have cut their teeth here and now are nurses, one became a doctor, I think we have a lawyer that came through here, too! They really learned how to work here and it’s good to see that they moved on and became successful, and maybe we had a small piece in helping that.
What was your role as a funeral director?
The Melancons were very good to me. Before I finished mortuary school, they told me I’d have a job. I went there right out of school.. Right when I left there I was able to go work at Melancon’s Funeral Home. You have to do a year-long apprenticeship. I did that for a year and then I was licensed. Some nights you were on call 24 hours for pickups from homes or hospitals. Then the next morning or whenever the family decided to come in, I’d make arrangements with the family to arrange the services, payment, burial, and coordinate with the churches and just see the family through that process. It was a very rewarding profession because you’re helping people through the toughest time of their life. They’re just overwhelmed with everything, grief especially, and to be able to walk them step by step through that and see how much they appreciated that. It was a great profession. It was something that if I needed to, I could go back tomorrow and do it.
Why did you come back to The Best Stop?
In 2009, I saw a need. My dad’s business partner, -Lawrence Menard, aka Uncle Brud, had passed away and they had an agreement that the surviving owner would buy the family out. My dad mentioned that they could use some help. So, I came back here in 2009 to help my sister Dana who had been managing here for about twenty years. I came back and learned again. When I worked here in high school I wasn’t really managing, I was just working and goofing off. I had to learn how to not goof off and manage. I did that and just seeing where we could grow. Me and Dana would kind of discuss things like with shipping and how we could change things to grow the shipping. We discussed how we can increase our specialty meat sales with a larger showcase or we could add things. You know cause if you have it, then people are going to buy it. They’re going to pick it up, especially if it’s good and then they’ll come back and get more. I came back to help out the family, run the business and to try to expand and grow the business.
What is your favorite part about working with your family?
I guess my favorite part is that it’s all how we feed our family so we all have our heart and soul in it. We work hard together, we pray together and we cry together. It’s just a family deal. We have our disagreements, but we work it out. It’s just very rewarding to grow the business as a family.
What is your favorite thing to eat at The Best Stop?
Something to get hot ready-to-eat here would be boudin, our original boudin. But probably out of the showcase the bacon-wrapped stuffed duck breast with cream cheese would be one of my other favorites!
Favorite place to eat that is not The Best Stop?
Tsunami, I love sushi. It might sound weird, but I’m not a picky eater. I love trying different foods. I’ll try any kind of food once. I’d say Tsunami is one of my favorite places to go for a night on the town.
Favorite pastime when you’re not working?
Well, my favorite pastime would probably be working. So, when I’m not working I’d probably be working! I really don’t have much as far as pastimes though cause I don’t do any fishing or golfing. I think my biggest one would be just spending time with family, especially when we go out camping, but also simple things like eating together on Sunday or just visiting.
What is your favorite thing to do in Acadiana?
I love going out to eat with friends at any local restaurant.