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SOUTH LAKE CHARLES, La. -- Brookshire Brothers has teamed up with Cormie’s, a family-owned grocery/convenience store in southwest Louisiana, to open a unique concept store.
The 35-year-old mom-and-pop shop, based in South Lake Charles near Big Lake, was part deli, restaurant, bait shop, gas station and superette until the 7,800-square-foot-store burned down in early 2011. Lufkin, Texas-based Brookshire Brothers then got involved in the rebuilding effort. “The unique format that we came up with combines elements from our Polk’s Pick It Up convenience store division, disciplines in the fresh departments from the core of Brookshire Brothers supermarkets, as well as newfound components," explained Eric Johnson, the company’s director of construction. “What resulted was a ‘hybrid’ -- a creative mix of different elements.”
In response to the question of why a retail grocer would wish to “adopt” a sole operator, Brookshire Brothers Chief Operating Officer Jerry Johnson, a Lake Charles native steeped in the food and culture of the region, replied: “Cormie’s is the ‘new normal’ in retail. It carries what the customers in that area want -- amazing home-prepared convenience foods, the staples, gas and a wide variety of fishing supplies. Shopping there is a social experience. Everyone knows everybody else, and it feels like home.”
As well as owning and operating Cormie’s, Johnson aims to translate the distinctive aspects of the store into marquee items for Brookshire Brothers. “Building brand equity with products and services that are better than our competition is critical for us,” he noted. “With Cormie’s, we have stellar recipes based on family tradition that we can brand companywide.”