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A Family Tradition

Through the years, many of Cyrus Guidry's family members have carried on the family tradition by working at Guidry Hardware. From an early age, Gerald Guidry worked alongside his dad, doing much of the manual labor. Gerald's twin sister, Geraldine Guidry Marceaux, held out until her senior year of high school.

"I hated it," she says. "I was the only girl."

Eventually, Geraldine's sons, Tim Marceaux and Kirk Brodhead, worked at Guidry's.

As Gerald's children, Leslie, Gina, Steven, Monique and Renee, grew, they spent time at the store during the summers. But, they were not allowed to run amuck, because it was a place of business.

When the kids became older, they became interested in working at Guidry's. At age 10, Steven "officially" started, beginning at the bottom with sweeping floors and stocking shelves.

"I was the only son, so there was no special treatment" he recalls. "It was a family business, and it was what I did. I didn't know anything different."

By the age of 15 or 16, Steven was waiting on customers. "Making sure that the customers were taken care of was the main priority," he recalls.

During college, the Guidry children worked a the store, filing and making deposits. Gina recalls that as she filed, she could hear her grandfather, Cyrus, in his office counting money in French.

"My grandfather was so excited because Dad's children were learning the business, " she recalls.

In 1989, Gina got married and began working for her father in the bookkeeping office. When he purchased Coastal Supply, Inc. in 1988, she moved over to run its bookkeeping department.

"It's like a big family over here, with the old customers and the loyal employees," Gina says.

Now, Gina's daughter, Lauren Broussard, is working with her at Coastal. Amanda Broussard, now a nurse, had worked at Guidry's in the past. Matthew, Leslie's son, worked at Coastal Supply one summer during high school. Today, he is an accountant.

"All of the kids want to work over here," Gina says. "It's the cutest thing."

In 1987, Gerald's youngest child, Renee, graduated from UL with a finance degree and began working full time at Guidry's. She is also overseeing the Scott store and handles all of its work.

"I had always wanted to work for the family business," Renee says. "So, once I got married, I asked Dad if I could come work here, and he said, 'Sure.'"

After Steven graduated from UL in 1987, he continued to work at Guidry's. At 27, he moved to California where he now sells real estate.
The most recent full-time addition to the Guidry family workforce is Monique Guidry's son Trey, an LSU student, who works at the store in his spare time. Additionally, Trey is managing his grandfather, Gerald's, rental properties. Monique's daughter Jordan, who studies at Southeastern Louisiana University, fills in occasionally.

Gerald's wife, Alice, says that her youngest grandchild, Ali, is anxiously awaiting her turn to work at Guidry's. Eight-year-old Ali is Renee's daughter.

"She's just chomping at the bit to be there," Alice says. "She lives to go there and help out like the others."

Even the in-laws have gotten into the action. Andre Breaux, who is married to Gerald's daughter, Leslie, has worked for Guidry's for 31 years. Their son, Matthew, was employed by Coastal one summer during high school. As a long-term employee, Breax has done everything from sales to management. He is primarily responsible for personnel and inventory control.

"When you are in a small business, you kind of do everything." he explains. "I wait on customers, cut and thread pipe, load and unload trucks and mop the floors if I have to. I kind of do it all."

As a man who enjoys "handy man kind of things," Breaux fits right in at Guidry's.

"Most of the employees are like that over here, where they enjoy piddling around with things and little projects at their houses," he says. " I enjoy working in this type of industry."

Another part of the business that Breaux enjoys is helping Guidry's regular customers. He also likes the variety of work at the store.

"Even though we are in the same building every day selling the same merchandise, there is always a project that comes up where you are doing something different," he explains.