Chamber of Commerce Names Small Business Person of the Year at Annual Meeting

The Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce had their annual meeting today.  ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey tells us what they presented and who they honored.

“The Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce held their annual meeting where they touted their accomplishments for the year.  They also named their small business person of the year and inducted an individual into their hall of fame.”

“This year after getting the congressional designation for the general route for the future interstate I-14 we worked with our Vernon Parish partners to look at what kind of funding models we could develop to provide some local funds to go in with state and federal funds to begin building the stretches of I-14 through our community which will be great for Fort Polk and boost its value but not only that it will create a new economic development corridor.”

Deborah Randolph, president of the Chamber talked about some other successes that the Chamber accomplished this past year.

“We were successful in advocating on the state level at the state capital for funding for many projects for Central Louisiana including the new hanger at England Airpark and the student success center at LSUA.”

Randolph tells us who the Chamber chose to induct into the hall of fame.

“This year we are inducting Johnie Varnado and she was the first African American board chair of the Chamber of Commerce in 2004 she is now diseased.  We are posthumously inducting her into the chamber hall of fame.”

The Chamber named John Valenzuela, owner of Quebedeaux’s Cajun Café restaurants, the small business person of the year.

“It was a big surprise for us. What we could do for this community, we’ve tried our best and we’ve been here 28 years the family and now that I have three boys that are pushing the brand and we’re going to be doing a lot of great things here in Rapides Parish.  We have a factory that we’re getting started. We have another restaurant being built here.  And we’re trying to make a culture is the main thing we’re focused in on doing.”

Quebedeaux’s employs a lot of people and will be hiring many more soon.

“Right now we have close to 200 employees that work for us in all our restaurants and then we’re going to have the new ones coming up we have that one.  And then the factory will have about 150, 200, 225 workers that will be employed in the factory.”

Valenzuela says Central Louisiana is a good place for them to do business.

“The reason why we chose this area and to do it here other than other places it a had a big corridor of highways and that’s the main thing.  We looked at the different highways 28, you have the new highways that’s going to be built pretty soon here.  There’s plans for that.  Then you have I-49 that’s going in and out of Texas all the way down south.  So, it’s a good place to make business here.”