One Stop Cajun Shop

Le Marché has it all—from specialty meats to hardware—in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana.

One Stop Cajun Shop

September 2021   minute read

By: Al Hebert

New, modern c-stores are popping up around the country. With lots of glass, LED lights and spacious interiors, they are sleek and roomy. Then there are stores like Le Marché in Maurice, Louisiana, that are a throwback—in a good way—to the nostalgic feel that makes visiting a unique experience.

“Le Marché means The Market. When we took it over we wanted to keep the old feel. We wanted customers to step back in time like an old school market. You can buy something to cook for supper or get what you need to build a fence. This was a convenience store before people knew what a convenience store was,” said co-owner Trevor Courville.

Feature image: La Marché’s building has been a store for nearly 100 years, and the owners want to keep the old-time atmosphere—you can buy something to cook for dinner or get what you need to build a fence. Top: Le Marché offers specialty meats, including marinated and raw meats, and Jessi Dubois is the on-site butcher. Bottom: Amy Claire Bourque and Tasha Savoy are Le Marché employees who strive to make sure every customer who walks in the store is treated like family.

Courville and his partner, Scott Bourque, both worked in Louisiana’s oil industry. Things slowed down in 2016, and when the store came up for sale, they bought it. They renamed it and began doing business on January 1, 2017.

“We’re excited to be a part of the community. At a time with COVID, supporting local business in a small community is huge. It’s about people taking care of each other,” Courville said.

It’s one of those places that just makes you feel good when you step through the door. Generations of customers have smelled fresh bread baking as they walked across the worn, wooden floors. The building has been a store for almost a hundred years. Customers will find snacks, tobacco, grocery staples, produce, ice cream, adult beverages and pre-cooked meals, as well as kitchen tools and utensils, cleaning supplies, hardware and even animal feed.

Lady Butcher

One of the things that sets Le Marché apart is the specialty meats offer, which includes a wide range of marinated and raw meats, from pork to beef to chicken. Jessi Dubois is the on-site butcher.

“When I hired Jessi, she fell right into the role. She has done everything I could have asked and more. She likes what she does. People call, and they want to talk to Jessi.”

Dubois is unique in this male-dominated profession. “Around here, I’m the only lady butcher that I know of. At first, it was a little intimidating. It’s a satisfying job and probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” she said.

Le Marché’s resident butcher also supplies meat to a satellite market started by co-owner Bourque in Elk City, Oklahoma, where he owns an oilfield company. “We’ve sold more rice pots up there than you can imagine,” said Courville. “We cut the meat here, freeze it and ship it up there. People up there love it.”

Dubois and her coworkers have formed authentic connections with customers. “Jessi is coming up with new ideas each week. Customers want to talk to Monica for deli orders. Our whole team is involved. Everyone is taking care of our customers all the time,” said Courville.

Fresh Bread and Chicken Burgers

This area of Louisiana is considered a food destination, so the competition is stiff. Courville knew the c-store had to have great food, and bread made fresh in the store was a tradition that Courville and his partner wanted to continue.

“Baking fresh bread gives the store a certain feel. It’s an aroma that brings you comfort. An old store like this, it’s important to us how our customers feel. Keeping those traditions that have been going on for a long time is important,” said Courville. “Jalapeño bread is very popular. We get customers who call and just want plain bread with nothing in it. Some people want it with cheese. If you can think of it, we will make it.”

You can buy something to cook for supper or get what you need to build a fence.

Aside from bread, hamburgers are the most popular menu item. “Our customers come in and ask for cheeseburgers made with love.” he said. The buns are perfectly toasted on an old toaster that just seems to fit the nostalgic atmosphere of the store.

Le Marché’s Chicken Burger became a customer favorite just two weeks after landing on the menu.

Courville shared the story: “We process deer. A guy came in and asked me to mix his deer with chicken thighs. He said for us to figure it out. We mixed some seasoning, put it in a casing and made sausage out of it. He came back and said nothing made his deer taste this good. He made a patty out of it, and it was great,” recalled Courville.

Courville simply used the same seasoning and made a chicken patty. “It was just a customer asking for something different. Customers have good ideas; sometimes you just have to listen,” he said. “I like to tell the customers if you’re looking for something, and you can’t find it—don’t leave. We probably have it—from toilet repair to supper, we have it.”

Like so many c-stores, growth is on the agenda. “We’d like to get a full deli and be able to do French fries and Sunday meals. People used to do one plate lunch on Sunday. I want something different like barbecue, pork stew, red beans and rice. With the number of people moving to the area it’s important for us to keep up,” Courville said.

Le Marché is a general store with heart and customers feel it. “This is a place where you can talk to a complete stranger, and soon it feels like you’ve known them all your life.” This is what Cajun Country is all about.

Al Hebert

Al Hebert

Al Hebert is the Gas Station Gourmet, showcasing America’s hidden culinary treasures. Find him at www.GasStationGourmet.com.

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