Fremin’s Food & Furniture held a ribbon cutting ceremony in February, filled with family, friends, customers and community representatives. It was the welcome back that they had been waiting for.
In early 2018 a fire disrupted the business, but not the spirit of this staple grocery store in the New Iberia, Louisiana, community. When the family owned store was damaged by a fire on March 9, employees and shoppers came to their aid, offering time and effort to assist with the clean-up process.
“They did things they never thought they would be doing,” said Ross Fremin, one of the store’s owners. “Butchers and cashiers became carpenters and painters. I was pleased and proud that everyone wanted to be here for us in this way.”
The fire was primarily contained to the warehouse portion, however, the building took in significant water damage. During the renovations project, Fremin’s was able to re-arrange a few of its key areas, including deli and produce, and increase its frozen food space. The company completed the restoration in late September, realizing it had to bring back its customers who had begun driving a short distance for a grocery store. Although the family never had an occurrence as impactful as this one affect their livelihood before, being able to adjust to curve balls was nothing new.
In 1941, Ross’ grandfather Wilton Fremin opened a small store that also had a house connected to it. He rented his home and moved into the store, selling sandwiches and other small items out of the store. While in New Orleans, Wilton met a furniture salesman and wanted to purchase items for his son Rayware’s upcoming wedding. This purchase led him to acquire a few pieces to position as décor within the store. Customers visiting the store commented on how much they loved it—and the rest is a part of naming history. Fremin’s became a food and furniture store. By 1956, it doubled in size. Unable to expand and grow in its original location, the store was relocated to the newly constructed 31,000-s.f. current location in 1983, gradually expanding over the years to more than 43,000 s.f.
In 1987, Rayware Fremin opened a seasonal fireworks stand and later retired from the store. He went from a small stand to a tent and eventually a 5,000-s.f. building. Customers loved the tent, in fact, they wanted to rent it, leading the Fremins to offer not only a tent rental option at their store but a party supply division which they still have today, offering tents, canopies, tables, chairs, dance floors, stages and other items for special events.