Jan St. Syr has been a client of Louise’s Real Wood Furniture for 17 years. Like many regulars at the store, she was sad to learn of the longtime Lafayette store’s decision to close.
The family furniture store, located at 2807 Johnston Street in the South College Center, recently announced it was closing after nearly 50 years in business. Louise’s, St. Syr was convinced, was a business that would have been in Acadiana forever.
âIt means something special when you walk into a store and they greet you by your first name,â said St. Syr, a resident of Grand Prairie.
The decision to close was a tough one for owner Anna Lane, whose parents started the business in 1971. In mid-March, the store hosted a two-month sales event to âgain traction,â a- she said, and she recently announced that it will close later this summer.
âWe knew Memorial Day was going to be the deadline, and we had to make a decision,â Lane said. âThe past three years have been a challenge for us. We recognize that the way to shop has changed. We really wanted to continue. “
The store, which sells bedroom and kitchen furniture with a natural wood finish, has made its mark with quality customer service and products. Many of the store’s items are discounted, and its over 4,000 Facebook followers can view many of these items online.
Other customers appreciated the family atmosphere of the store as well as their products. Lafayette resident Susan Moreau said she liked the âhomey feelingâ of the store and didn’t feel pressured to buy something.
âLafayette is losing a landmark,â she said.
Said Lane: âI feel like almost everyone in Acadiana owns at least one piece of real wood furniture from Louise. Even as our store closes, I believe that Louise’s Real Wood’s memory and solid wood heritage, a solid value, will endure.
Lane’s parents, Brian and Louise Baudoin, started the business at the Petroleum Center as Louise’s Unpainted Furniture. Louise wanted to open a store, Lane recalls, and one day while in Baton Rouge she saw an unpainted furniture store.
The owners of the BÃ¢ton Rouge store helped the Baudoins to start their business in Lafayette by giving them advice on the products.
âIt was Acadiana’s first lumber store,â Lane said. âThis was the first introduction to unfinished furniture in Acadiana. “
The Baudoins, along with Lane and her six siblings, worked in the store to make Louise’s dream come true and live by her motto, âSolid Wood, Solid Valueâ. The children participated during the summer and Christmas holidays, either by working in the showroom or by making deliveries.
âIt was wonderful to have been able to work together as a family,â she said. âWe find this very strong for our family. “
The store also had a mascot, the lumberjack. Devin Lantier started working at Louise at the age of 18 doing deliveries and later became the lumberjack, and now he does the finishing work for the store.
âHe’s been invaluable to us,â Lane said.
But buying habits have changed in Acadiana and nationally, leaving retailers across the country to adapt or close. A report released earlier this month by USA Today said the number of store closings so far this year is 20% higher than a year ago.
It is estimated that 7,000 stores will close this year, and although many of those closures were clothing stores, furniture stores have struggled. Pier 1, which has a location in Lafayette and 13 in Louisiana, announced last month that it would be closing 57 stores, and Mattress Firm closed several stores last year.
âWe’ve had so many heartwarming conversations with people who just come in in disbelief that we shut down even if they heard it on the radio or saw it on TV,â Lane said. âThey walk through the door and see the banner outside ‘Going Out Of Business’ come up to the counter saying, ‘Now you’re not really closing, are you?’
âWe are sad to be leaving too. It’s a mutual feeling. God is in charge of all of our seasons, and it’s a new season for us. We are very grateful to Acadiana and the way they have supported us. We think it’s time for us to put an end to this and start a new chapter.
Residents of a neighborhood devastated by the August 2016 floods woke up on Sunday morning to again see the rising water levels.
Jan St. Syr has been a client of Louise’s Real Wood Furniture for 17 years. Like many regulars at the store, she was sad to learn loâ¦
Jim Keaty is the owner of Keaty Real Estate, which he founded in 2004.
Fashion and jewelry retailer Charming Charlie has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will close all of its stores, including its store in Acâ¦
The Louisiana State Bar Association presented the John A. âT-Jeanâ Hernandez III Memorial Award for Francophone Leadership Achievement toâ¦