Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Green Around Acadiana | Robie's Food Center

While Lafayette is the heart of the Hub City, sometimes the real treasures lie outside the city limits. As part of a new focus on the blog, I'm going to explore the ins and outs of Acadiana to find environmentalist efforts and eco-friendly businesses.

For the inaugural Green Around Acadiana feature post, we're heading south on Highway 167, to the quaint town of Abbeville, the seat of Vermilion Parish. Abbeville has become a second home to me over the past four years; while I was born and raised in Lafayette, Abbeville is where my fiance hails from, and it's where we're getting married in October.

In South Louisiana, it's all about the food, and Abbeville is no exception. The restaurants are plenty notable, but for everyday life, you look toward the grocery store. And if you know anything about Abbeville, you know to go to Robie's Food Center.

Courtesy Robie's Facebook

Located on South State Street, Robie's is locally owned by Jim and Robert Russo, a family with strong ties to the history of Abbeville. The grocery store was opened by the brothers' father, Mr. Robie himself, and his wife, Joyce, in 1953, with a simple philosophy: “Sell quality products at a value while providing the best personal service available.” It retains that neighborhood feel to this day, even after a couple location changes.

Robie Russo, courtesy Robie's Facebook

The deli features traditional southern plate lunches (I'll work on that styrofoam!) and homemade specialty items (get yourself some spicy chicken salad and go picnic in Magdalen Square...trust me), and many of the products sold are from local companies.

You can find a variety of local brews, meats and fish come from local suppliers, and lots of sausage is homemade at the store (okay, trust me on two things: spicy chicken salad and Steen's syrup sausage!) The commitment to selling local brands helps to keep many local businesses thriving.

Local produce, courtesy Robie's Facebook


"My favorite parts of running a locally owned business are the people, the relationship building, and the community service. It's not easy by any means, but these connections keep us going every day," says Jim.

The store shows that gratitude and commitment by continuously giving back to the community. They support schools, churches, civic clubs, and youth sports organizations, and they're involved in many fundraisers for local charities. It's an example of the impact shoppers make when they choose to support a local business. More money stays within the community, compared to larger regional or national chains.

And although Abbeville is not known for being a mecca of accessible eco-friendly services, Robie's does its part to recycle as much as it can. It's a true testament to business responsibility!

"We recycle paper, cardboard, plastic bags, biofuel from our used cooking oil recycling, fat recycling from meat byproducts, printer cartridges, wood, and aluminum. We encourage the use of reusable shopping bags. Our plastic bags are biodegradable, and we have collection bins where shoppers can return old bags for recycling," Jim says.

Fat recycling? Even I learned something new on that one. There is one company that picks up the used cooking oil and fat products. The fat products are turned into other items, like animal feed, soap, cleaners, or makeup.

In a smaller town, why is corporate recycling so important? Though it can be difficult finding an outlet for all of the recyclables, it's all about reducing waste at Robie's, and it's especially impactful in an industry that can generate a lot of waste.

The store takes a big sustainability step even before the customer gets involved, but those steps go further when the customer uses cloth shopping bags; recycles their plastic, glass and paper packaging; and takes care not to waste food.

You can purchase these handy cloth wine carriers at the store! Photo courtesy Robie's


When you visit Robie's Food Center, take a moment to appreciate the down-home aspect where you'll probably run into 25 people you know, smell the amazing deli offerings, and thank the owners for their commitment to recycling and waste reduction.

And both Jim and I agree, let's push for curbside recycling in Abbeville!

Oh, trust me on three things. The spicy chicken salad, the Steen's syrup sausage, and the deli's macaroni and cheese. Y'all. I think I just talked myself into a trip to Abbeville.

VISIT

604 South State Street
Abbeville, LA 70510
Open daily 6:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Facebook | Website

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