In Lafayette, LA
The Lafayette institution was established in 1945 when Percy Guidry, an ebullient Cajun with a young family, opened an 18' by 20' blacksmith shop. "A self taught craftsman, Percy couldn’t read or write and barely spoke English,” recalls his grandson, Keith Guidry. "But, he was honest and hardworking, like so many Cajuns back then. He was a fun-loving guy who started with nothing and built an empire.”
The Business Grows
Percy Guidry understood a basic principle of successful business –give customers what they want. When he saw the need for iron work in the nearby oil fields, he built the first portable welding truck and went after the business. The increase in business allowed Percy to expand his shop to 17,000 sq. ft. Percy’s wife, Madia, was also deeply involved in the business, keeping the books and looking after the many details of running a small business.
Shifting the Focus: Ornamental Ironwork
Ray & Percy During the 1950s, Percy Guidry began to concentrate on the ornamental iron business. When his son, Ray, was discharged from the military in 1961, the company moved into retailing. The firm’s New Orleans style ornamental ironwork, that included ornate fencing and gates, mailbox posts, swings and irons, soon became popular. The next step in the company’s evolution was wrought iron garden furniture, patio furniture and fireplace accessories.
Percy Guidry Retires
Percy Guidry remained active in the business even after turning management duties over to Ray in 1965. "Even after Percy retired, he enjoyed coming to the store and talking with the customers who gathered around to hear his stories. He loved to laugh and dance. He was one of the best story tellers anywhere.”
The Percy Guidry Companies is now operated by three of Percy’s grandchildren. Gregg Guidry manages the manufacturing division, Keith Guidry runs the retail operation, and Suzanne Guidry Rudasill manages the office.
Why We Are Successful
The Guidrys feel that their success is comprised of not only great products and personal service, but is infused with a certain indefinable extra. "Most of Dad’s customers became his lasting friends and we’ve tried to keep that tradition alive,” says Ray Guidry. That tradition comes as second nature to this third generation. Percy Guidry's love of people and his community is not only alive and well, but it's practiced everyday.
Got any stories to tell? Questions about Percy or how it all began? Contact us here. We'd love to hear from you.