This month, we wanted to sit down and chat with The Best Stop’s very own Penny Gennuso! You don’t have to talk to Penny long to get a feel for her outstanding work ethic and tenacity and, through her managerial oversight and an eye for detail, she has turned The Best Stop from a quaint little family business into a fine-tuned operation! Read on to learn more about The Best Stop’s leading lady!
Where’s your “place” in the Best Stop family?
I’m the oldest and everybody likes to remind me of that. If you’re counting, I’m only three years older than Dana.
How long have you been working with The Best Stop and what are some of your responsibilities?
It’s a family business, meaning that in some form or another I’ve been with The Best Stop since it opened by helping my father in every way I could. Technically I didn’t start working here full-time until three years ago because of my career in education. I was here when the shop opened in 1986 for about two years before going to college. Over the years, I would shop at The Best Stop often—Dad would make me pay for everything here, but I didn’t mind—it’s a business after all!
As far as my responsibilities? I’ve taken on almost all of the financial work, so all of the bookkeeping, payroll, human resources and budgeting. I’m also the project manager for our new wholesale facility, meaning I’m the go-to person between all of the engineers, architects, equipment wholesalers—and of course, the family. Basically, I’m responsible for a lot of the behind-the-scenes work!
What did you do before?
After college, I became a high school math teacher. I love teaching and I love math, so working with data and doing all of the bookkeeping for The Best Stop just makes a lot of sense for me, it’s right in my wheelhouse.
After teaching, I spent the next seven years as a math coach for the Lafayette Parish Public School System. I then became an assistant principal for a year at David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy. It was a new school at the time and it was really exciting being on the ground floor of that kind of program.
I left after a year to become the math and science supervisor for Lafayette Parish Public School System. This was right around the time when Common Core was implemented, so there were a lot of changes going on—it made my job challenging, but rewarding. We were really pushing for Common Core because foundationally it makes kids better at understanding the underlying concepts of mathematics—but it was also scary because there were so many unknowns! Fortunately, I had a great supervisor who trusted my team’s judgment.
When it came time to retire, I wanted to stay busy. I started working for this great company named Great Minds, where we trained educators on better math education practices. It was really rewarding work and I loved the people I worked for. In fact, I still serve on the Board of Directors.
What drew you back to the family business?
Well, we had been trying to get the wholesale operation going for a while and I had been helping my Dad out more and more. It was difficult because overseeing the construction of the wholesale facility drew on an entirely different skill set than what I had developed through the administrative duties of my career. It became a lot to juggle, and I was traveling a lot for work but also having to think a lot about the family business.
Eventually, I realized if this is going to happen I need to be all-in. Fully committed. So I started working at The Best Stop full time, and being around family has made the switch all the more meaningful.
What’s your favorite thing to eat from The Best Stop?
That’s a hard question—it’s all good. If I had to choose one thing it’d be cracklins, it’s so hard to walk through the door, smell the aroma of fresh cracklins and not want to eat a handful. But if I’m cooking something at home, it’s probably our filet mignon—it’s so good!
What’s your favorite place to eat that isn’t The Best Stop?
Tsunami! I love seafood so that means I love everything on the menu (but I get the sushi every time).
What’s your favorite pastime outside of work?
Time with family and friends is super important to me. If I have all of my kids and grandkids at church with me on Sunday, or all over at the house swimming and barbecuing, then I’m happy—my babies are my everything!
As far as hobbies go? I love playing tennis. My mom’s not so happy about that, she thinks I shouldn’t be playing at this age but I do it anyway. Staying active is what keeps me young!
Shoppin’ At The Stop
The Best Stop owes a lot of it’s recent successes to Penny, and the family couldn’t be prouder to have her around. If you’re in the market for the highest-quality, freshest select cuts of meat, or the tastiest treats in Cajun country, stop by The Best Stop in Scott and show some love! Chances are, you’ll find Penny and the rest of the crew working hard!