Moving Forward Archive
Brown's "Megastore" Coming to Central St. Landry District
The company will merge its current Lafayette and Opelousas stores into a 50,000-square-foot “megastore” near the I-49 intersection with Harry Guilbeau Road
Owner, Jason Fontenot
Brown’s Furniture, a fixture in St. Landry Parish for decades, is one of the first retailers to recognize the possibilities offered by the newly expanded Central St. Landry Economic Development District.
The company will merge its current Lafayette and Opelousas stores into a 50,000-square-foot “megastore” near the I-49 intersection with Harry Guilbeau Road, according to owner Jason Fontenot.
He said the inventory and employees from the two stores will move to the seven-acre site in 2018, although it is too early to set a definite opening date.
In an interview with the industry magazine Furniture Today, Fontenot noted that the Lafayette and Opelousas stores already draw customers from a 50-mile radius, which, according to St. Landry economic development director Bill Rodier, makes the development district an excellent choice for the new furniture showroom.
The central district was created in the fall of 2017 to extend the boundaries of the old Harry Guilbeau district to include prime commercial sites along the I-49 corridor, which, in the view of Rodier and others, is the “transportation backbone of St. Landry Parish.” Work is underway to make important infrastructure upgrades on land near the highway.
The Brown’s store will be next to a 30,000-square-foot Giles Nissan facility that is expected to open in early 2018.
CEO Bob Giles said that facility will be “one of the first Nissan 2.0 facilities to be built from the ground up” in the United States. He characterized it as “a very modern and elegant design” oriented to serving customers.
There is also “a good probability” that plans will be announced later this year for a “substantial” retail/commercial development nearby, according to Rodier.
“It is too early to say anything except that the parts appear to be coming together to make this project a reality,” he said. “There is reason for optimism”
Frank “Buddy” Helton, chairman of the commission that will oversee the Central district, said commissioners think it will create opportunities like those experienced in similar districts created by nearby communities such as Carencro, Scott, Broussard, and New Iberia and in the Louisiana Avenue development in Lafayette.
He and others say the district’s ability to build the infrastructure and amenities attractive to retailers will help St. Landry capitalize on its position at the crossroads of I-49, the state’s major north-south interstate highway, and U.S. 190, which stretches from east to west across south Louisiana.
Rodier noted that each new retailer or retail expansion adds to a “synergy” that helps St. Landry residents do more and more of their shopping at home. That, in turn, produces market numbers attractive to other retailers, who begin to take a harder look at opportunities here.
“We are getting a growing number of inquiries from developers, realtors, and site consultants about the potential of the I-49 corridor. They are taking a close look at the fact that central St. Landry draws retail consumers from a large geographic radius,” Rodier said.
Opelousas, LA 70570