LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Jody and Tonya Hebert of Maurice aren’t afraid to take risks.
And almost 18 years after tackling a pretty big one, their hard work and positive attitude continue to pay off.
The Heberts own Dupuy’s Seafood and Steak in Abbeville, an eatery known for its eclectic cuisine and, of course, Cajun hospitality.
Although the two have spent much of their lives in the food service industry, buying a business wasn’t necessarily part of their plan — but when the opportunity knocked, they bit right in.
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Jody and Tonya met in 1996 at an Italian restaurant in Abbeville, and they quickly hit it off. Two years later, they were approached to manage and run Dupuy’s.
“They wanted my wife to take over the front,” Jody explains, “and they wanted me to run the back. We did that for about one-and-a-half years, and then the opportunity came up to buy the building from the Dupuy family.”
So what made them do it?
“We wanted to make more money and better ourselves,” he says, “so we took a shot at it.”
The rest, as they say, is history — but success came with some sacrifices.
“At that point,” Jody explains, “we worked our butts off, day and night. Hustling business, getting people back in, and showing the community what we had to offer.”
They revamped the menu, added several new dishes and remodeled the restaurant.
After a few years, business picked up — and the people of Acadiana were hooked.
Dupuy’s is famous for its oysters on the half shell and large variety of seafood items, and the Hebert family is committed to keeping the customers coming back for more.
So what’s the secret to longevity in an industry with lots of turnover?
“My wife and I work great together,” Jody says. “She is the thinker, and I am the doer.”
That dynamic seems to be the perfect recipe for success. In fact, the couple recently expanded their business.
Two years ago, the Heberts bought the building that housed Mr. Keets restaurant in Maurice, and they turned it into a banquet facility.
“That’s going pretty good,” Jody says. “We cater weddings, rehearsals, school functions. Everything we do at the restaurant, we do there.”
The family has no further plans for expansion, as they’re committed to growing their current customer base and focusing on the “family” they’ve built in Abbeville.
“It’s our second home,” Jody says of the city. “Our favorite thing is being a part of this community, fitting in. The restaurant has been here for more than 150 years, since 1869 … we’re going to make sure we keep it alive.”
Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com