Acadian Kitchens buys north Lafayette Warehouse

One of the pride and joys of Broussard, Louisiana, Acadian Kitchens, recently purchased a $1.2 million warehouse in north Lafayette to expand their thriving business and bring in more jobs, according to this article from The Acadiana Advocate.

The hard-working employees of the company, Acadian Kitchens, might be better known to some for being the makers of the Ragin’ Cajun and Cajun’s Choice brands of seasonings, box dinners, condiments, and other food products. In total, the company currently employs about 20, but with the new warehouse purchase and an increased production line, they’ll be looking to add possibly as many as 30 additional jobs when it’s all said and done.

Presently, the Acadian Kitchens company is operating out of three buildings at a combined footage of 10,000 square feet. The new purchase and the subsequent move will transition the company into a single, 35,000-square-foot building, and due to the warehouse’s strategic location of being housed on the NE Evangeline Thruway, drivers and employees will have a much more accessible route to the interstate highway. Land records indicate that the company has purchased the former Completeful building, located at 3136 NE Evangeline Thruway for just over $1.2 million.

CEO of Acadian Kitchens Paul Leleux estimated that the conversion of the north Lafayette warehouse into a proper food-processing facility will take approximately nine months, but it will allow them to consolidate its operations, add new equipment, improve its total productivity, and grow its workforce. The warehouse became commercially available after Completeful, the drop shipping fulfillment service, moved into the former Walmart facility on Evangeline Thruway.

Leleux commented on the increased demand in the food industry as a result of stay-at-home orders, hurricane evacuations, and other national events, saying, “the demand for food, particularly home-prepared food, is increasing. Particularly in this time of COVID, people are hesitant to go out and eat. Our goal is to allow the rest of the country to enjoy Cajun and Creole foods we’ve been enjoying all our lives in Louisiana. There’s nothing worse than having bad Cajun food. I’m doing everything I can to avoid that.”

That increase in demand was made ever more apparent last October when the company announced that it had hit a sales record just weeks after Hurricane Delta damaged one of the company’s buildings and its founder, Tom Riggsretired as CEO. The sales record was that Acadian Kitchens had its highest sales month in its total 34-year history. This was attributed to the company finding success in offering its Ragin’ Cajun food products in markets outside of Louisiana, particularly those on the east and west coasts of the United States.

While some of the company’s success can be attributed to the Illinois-based capital investment firm, Evanston Partners, buying a majority stake in the company in 2017. This was back when it was known as Southern Seasonings.

Surpassing its sales record just weeks after Hurricane Delta struck the company’s facilities was certainly an impressive feat. The violent winds of the late August storm had brought down a large oak tree atop one of the company’s buildings in Broussard, destroying 2,000 square feet. CEO Leleux reported that after the storm hit on Friday night, clean-up operations began Saturday morning, and operations resumed the following Wednesday.

Leleux said of the experience, “Hurricane Delta came at us hard like everybody else. We knew we had to do something to grow the company facility-wise, but that (storm) may have accelerated the process. We were still able to pay our people through all of it. We lost 2,000 square feet but didn’t miss a beat. It was a credit to a lot of people’s hard work.”

Employees of the tenacious company see the hurricane’s setback as more of a sign or a nudge that it was time to move on to a new facility— one that’s large enough to accommodate the company’s growth.

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Twelve Things You Can Only Find in Lafayette, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana, also known as the Happiest City in America, is at the heart of Lousiana’s Cajun and Creole Country. It’s the perfect city to add to your bucket list if you want to find fields of rice and sugarcane, bayous and cypress swamps, discover authentic music, and delicious cuisine.

Lafayette is a town immersed in Cajun culture, which is what sets it apart from many of the other towns and cities in Louisiana. As a matter of fact, Lafayette has many unique experiences you can only find in this unique part of the world.

Here are 12 things you’ll only find in Lafayette, Louisiana!

1.  Cajun French Culture

This area of Louisiana was settled by Acadians who were kicked out of Canada in the late 1700s when they refused to give up key aspects of their culture. They found refuge in southern Louisiana, and to this day keep their culture alive. Around town, it’s easy to pick up on the Cajun-French dialect that saturates the town –phrases like cher bébé, meaning darling, and names like Boudreaux and Thibodeaux.

2.  Festival International de Louisiane

Hosted annually in April, the Festival International de Louisiane is the largest international outdoor Francophone music and arts festival in the country. More than 300,000 festival-goers come to celebrate their French heritage through music, food, and art.

3.  Cajun Music in Lafayette

Home to artists like Lost Bayou Ramblers, Pine Leaf Boys, Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, The Magnolia Sisters, and Chubby Carrier and The Bayou Swamp BandArcadiana is fertile ground for local and internationally recognized musicians.

4.  America’s Largest Swamp

America’s largest swamp, theAtchafalaya Basin, is bigger than the Florida Everglades. You’ll find this swamp features in the History Channel show Swamp People and Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid.

5.  Cajun Food

Not to be confused with Creole, Cajun food is true southern soul food. Most recipes start with the holy trinity – green bell pepper, onion, and celery. A few Cajun dishes you must try are crawfish étouffée, jambalaya, rice dressing and chicken and sausage gumbo.

6. The Best Boudin and Cracklins  in Lafayette

Boudin and cracklins were invented from resourcefulness on the Acadian’s behalf. They made it a point to utilize every aspect of the pig when cooking, which led to the invention of boudins and cracklins. This is a roughly half-pound, half-foot length of sausage available for purchase in most every local meat market and grocery store. Cracklins are fried morsels of pork fat with the pork skins.

7.  Avery Island

Avery Island is where Tabasco sauce originates from, created by Edmund McIlhenny in 1868. You can tour the factory and museum and make sure to get a unique souvenir at the gift shop!

8.  Popeyes Only Buffet in Lafayette

With over 2,600 franchises in the world, you can find the only buffet version of the fried chicken joint in Lafayette, Louisiana. Fill up your plate with buttery biscuits, red beans and rice, mac n’ cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, spicy chicken, and coleslaw.

9.  Evangeline Maid Bread

Evangeline, a famous Acadian refugee, has her memory in everything. Now 100 years old, Evangeline Bread is still produced specifically in Acadiana, where half a million loaves are made weekly.

10.  A One-of-a-Kind George Rodrigue

Painted by George Rodrigue, this painting depicts the poet Longfellow about the reunion of Evangeline and her lost love, Gabriel. Fans can see his artwork at galleries in Lafayette, New Orleans, and California, but this hidden gem can be seen in Asma Boulevard off of Kaliste Saloom Road.

11.  Courir De Mardi Gras

Courir de Mardi Gras, meaning Fat Tuesday Run, is a unique tradition to Acadiana. This is where partakers where masks, pointed hats, and homemade costumes, then go door-to-door begging for ingredients to make a communal pot of gumbo.

12. Borden’s Last Ice Cream Shoppe in Lafayette

Borden’s dates back to the 1800s as a highly recognized dairy brand and mascot, Elsie the Cow. Visitors can visit the last standing ice cream shoppe for a blast to the past and ice cream malts, shakes, sodas, and scoops.

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