Tag Archives: concrete

Acadian Brick and Stone: Paving the way to a new gold standard

Written by: Jill Martinez

It’s been a hard road to hoe since his days working in oil field management almost five years ago, but Darriel Green and his wife, Dione, have stayed committed to their vision to create a service oriented business which provides quality brick and stone products to both residential and commercial projects in the Lafayette area. “Looking back, I get a lot of personal satisfaction knowing that we excelled at a business people told me years ago wasn’t even worth my time,” says Darriel Green. “We’ve been able to grow our business from a cramped modular building in a dusty, dirty brick yard to an expansive state-of-the-art showroom which features an array of brick, flooring and roofing selections. The journey has been tough and tears have definitely been shed, but in the end, myself, my wife and my amazing staff have stayed focus on our core company value – to always treat others as you would like to be treated,” notes Green. “That’s always been our standard, and it continues to set us apart within the industry time and time again.”

In addition to their general emphasis on hospitality and good will, Green’s success is also derived from his specialized selection of antique bricks, especially those extracted from areas around South Carolina, Virginia, St. Louis, and Birmingham. Without carrying the weight of all the green hype that permeates the market today, recovering and reusing bricks is and has always been a great way to recycle materials. And that is exactly the eco friendly manner in which antique bricks are produced. “People in Louisiana and throughout the Southern part of the country love the rustic character and charm of antique bricks. It is a more specialized product, so I have to travel around to different areas to select the best quality bricks available,” he says. “We have some that date back from around 1870.”
Amid all of his success in the industry, Green is probably most proud of his antique brick floor tile. “I burnt up almost $2,000 of equipment in a single day trying to slice antique brick to get just the right hardness, texture and color,” Green recalls. “And we are talking about a product that took an entire three years of this kind of exhausting experimentation to perfect.”

When Darriel and Dione began a renovation of their home in the area, their natural instinct was to use brick in the flooring. Instead of outsourcing the job, Darriel made up his mind to produce the flooring himself – a decision that in the end bolstered his business tremendously despite the many setbacks he encountered along the way. “The antique brick floor tile has been a really great product for us. It’s changed our business, that’s for sure!” exclaims Green. And although Green continues to expand his product selection, grow his markets, and target larger and larger areas, the service-oriented foundation he set into place years ago remains the same. For the Green family and the loyal, dedicated staff at Acadian Brick and Stone, it’s not what they are selling, but the way in which they relate and respect each and every customer they interact with that makes all the difference. “I can’t emphasize that enough. You can buy bricks in many different places, but being able to trust that you’ll get what you want, when you want it, and for the price you agreed to pay is such a relief to the homeowners and builders we deal with on a day to day basis, that they keep coming back or refer their friends and family,” he explains. It is amazing how far a smile and a dose of good old fashion respect will get you. Darriel and Dione Green could not agree more.

Acadian Brick and Stone
2431 S. College Road
P.O. Box 82207
Lafayette, Louisiana 70598
337.235.9516
www.acadianbrick.com

Romancing the Stone: D&D Ornamental Concrete

Written by: Simonette Berry

Where can you encounter a giant gorilla, a baby dinosaur, a slumbering dragon, and an angel with a six-foot wingspan surrounded by a host of genuflecting saints? Not in your dreams or even Disneyland (they don’t have saints), but the epic statuary section of D and D Ornamental Concrete. D and D has been offering an inspiring collection of statuary, fountains, birdbaths, garden furniture, and garden ornaments since 1986. With four acres in Napoleonville and another acre at the Baton Rouge location, D and D’s huge selection, among other things, has made it the largest wholesaler and retailer of statuary in Louisiana.

D and D was founded during the oil bust in the 80s and has grown steadily since its inception, thriving even through today’s recession. Founder Mike Dubois grew up working with his parents, Helen and Paul Dubois, at Dubois Nursery in Houma, where they carried a small selection of stone statues. Mike and his wife, co-founder Patricia Dubois, were attracted to the idea of being makers of their own destiny. With the help of Mike’s parents and a retiring statue manufacturer that offered to show them the tricks of the trade, the young couple started D and D Ornamental in 1986. “We started selling to other nurseries that I knew through my mom’s shop, and pretty soon I had a steady clientele. Almost every year we’ve earned more than the one before,” he says.

Patricia worked by Mike’s side as a statuary painter for the first 10 years the business was in operation. Now, she runs the Baton Rouge store and manages the accounting while Mike focuses on sales, production, and fountain installation at the Napoleonville location. People come through both stores on weekends in droves. Though D and D does a good bit of retail, the biggest business comes from wholesale customers; the company serves hundreds of them throughout the Gulf Coast region. “Wholesale was always our biggest market,” says Mike. “My mom’s nursery business gave me lots of ready-made connections, and word spread fast. For the first 15 years or so, it was word of mouth only. We didn’t need to advertise; we could barely handle the business we had! Now, we’ve expanded enough to advertise, and about seven or eight years ago we created the website. People can shop from their homes just by looking through the online catalog.”

“A lot of people come out just to look around. If you come here, make plans to spend a little time so you can see everything. We love having people, and we hardly ever lose customers once they’ve bought from us. Our prices are very competitive because we make 80 percent of everything we sell. So many people say to me they can’t believe how good our prices are, but I explain that we try to give our customers the same benefits we have.”

Mike pumps new life into the business every year with original sculptures, fountains, and ornaments. “We hire a sculptor from time to time to create new work or to do commissions. He’ll come into the shop and sculpt the pieces, and from those we make our own molds. He just did a huge fleur de lis fountain for us. He’s done giant tigers, 14-foot alligators, large Jesus and Mary statues, life-size angels, all sorts of things.”

“Our religious statues are very popular, especially here in the South. People tend to buy them especially after hurricanes, I’ve noticed. We have a lot of original religious pieces and a large selection, so people come from as far away as Houston, Shreveport, and Lake Charles to get them. It’s a fun way to meet people. The Wall Street Journal even did a feature in 1999 about our Virgin Mary statues.”

Driving around south Louisiana, you’ll find D and D pieces proudly displayed in front lawns, schoolyards, church courtyards, and businesses. St. Charles Avenue’s twin vistas, Audubon Park and Tulane University, are dotted with D and D classic benches, urns, and planters. Less than a mile away, Ursuline Academy has a seven-foot custom-made religious statue on their lawn. “The 12-foot-tall crucifixes with Jesus are popular around here, too—you’ll see them out on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge and in some of the church courtyards,” says Mike.

D and D statues are also popular for lighthearted lawn decor and advertising gimmicks. “The big blue gorilla statue on Highway 90 is ours. There’s one like it in Plaquemines Parish in a man’s front yard. He dresses it up like Santa, the Easter Bunny, sometimes like an LSU player. He makes the news just about every year,” he chuckles. “It’s a good feeling to ride down the road and see pieces you made 20 and 25 years ago in people’s yards. It’s a good feeling to make something that people want,” says Mike.