In the late 1960s, Lester Champagne acquired a small grocery store in Erath on Kibbe Street. (It was originally owned by C. B. LeBlanc.) This industrious, hard-working farm boy achieved phenomenal success with his family-owned and operated supermarket, Champagne’s. By the 1970s, Lester expanded the store by acquiring property at the corner of Kibbe and Edwards, the site of the old Joe Granger home site. Building a state-of-the-art supermarket for his small, rural hometown, Lester set the stage for the continued success of this family-owned business. And we mean … FAMILY-owned and operated! Even Lester’s parents originally worked in the store’s meat department while other family members assisted throughout the store, catering to the personal needs of the community it happily served.
Over the years, Lester continued to grow the store to the town’s needs. He purchased the Abrad “T-Brad” Stoute home site which was adjacent to his store and thus Champagne’s enlarged again. A few years later, Lester acquired yet more surrounding property, the railroad section house on Edwards to the west. The store grew again, adding a delicatessen, an enlarged meat department and increased warehouse room.
Family has always played a central role in the store, and Lester’s four sons, Brent, Jude, Clint and Cody, along with his nephew, Ricky Luquette, have been actively involved in the store operations. His sister, Elaine, has also lent her hand with the management of the store.
When the opportunity became available for Lester to purchase a supermarket business in Delcambre, his store operations expanded to that market for a time. Each store enjoyed success and the small towns appreciated having hometown supermarkets. Storms, however, created complications. In September 2005, Hurricane Rita inundated the small coastal towns of Delcambre and Erath, blasting a storm surge straight up from Vermillion Bay, crossing the Intracoastal and filling houses and businesses. Delcambre was the hardest hit of the two. Champagne’s was unable to re-open in Delcambre as it battled insurance and the future but Champagne’s in Erath remained and reopened for the community.
In 2008, Hurricane Ike thought it would finish off the family business as it re-flooded homes and businesses that had been repaired, many of which were still trying to recover from Rita. Again, the large storm surges and devastating winds were forces trying to leave another small town without its own supermarket. But, Champagne’s fought back and was able to reopen its doors and provide the community with the hometown service it wanted, needed, and appreciated.
Today, Champagne’s continues to operate in Erath and gladly serves those who walk through its remodeled, fresh and inviting doors! Hometown service and pride in doing business the right way continue to serve Champagne’s and the Town of Erath well!