Kim Dever Thibodeaux wrote a beautiful tribute to her father on Facebook after he closed his business (gas station) in Breaux Bridge.
John's Store is no longer open for business, but the story of how it all started is amazing.
The idea of opening a business all started in 1985 when Kim's father sat there counting the vehicles on a highway.
The number of vehicles driving past him was enough to convince him that a gas station would work, and it would provide enough for his family.
The owners of the gas station worked through hurricanes and expanded through the years, but as they say, "All good things have to come to an end."
Saly for the family, the store has been sold and the family that started "John's Store" had to witness the store no longer pump fuel or even sell a burger recently.
Check out this emotional tribute from a daughter to her parents. Kim's mother is no longer with them, but her father has now entered into his well-deserved retirement years.
"In 1985, my father decided he wanted to go into business for himself. One day, we found him sitting in the dark, in front of our dining room window. Our family home is situated on the back of approximately six acres of land. The Bayou Teche borders the rear of the property and a state highway borders the front. Daddy was sitting in a chair with a TV tray in front of him and a small ice chest beside him. He had a notebook open and he was making hash marks. We asked mom what was going on and she said he was "working". We were puzzled and eventually he stopped what he was doing and explained. He had sat in front of that window from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., staring at the highway, and counting the cars that drove by. And, based on the number of cars he counted, he felt he could open a gas station and make a decent living. They wouldn't be rich, but they would pay their bills. My mother, as always, supported his decision.
Daddy worked on plans for a modest establishment, but my grandfather advised him that he needed to go bigger. So he did. With the help of a long list of friends and family - my grandfather, uncles, and great uncles - construction was soon underway. My grandfather lived more than an hour away so he took up residence with us during construction. You can still see a long list of names signed in the concrete.
We spent a lot of time trying to come up with a clever name, but after months of construction, they went with the name the community was already using. And so, on February 17, 1986, John's Store opened for business.
In the early years, my mother was teaching high school classes. After school, she worked at the store, often grading papers at a card table behind the cash register.
Daddy set up a barbecue pit under the awning in front of the store and grilled burgers over charcoal every day. His burgers became famous among the locals.
And for the next 36+ years there wasn't one single day that they weren't open for business. Even when hurricanes hit, the store was open. No power. No problem. Flashlights and a calculator did the trick.
Eventually the health department decided that barbecue pit needed to be located in an enclosure. Since John's Store had become a local hangout, Daddy decided he would build a second structure. The front portion would be a barbecue house and the back portion would be a bar with a jukebox and a pool table. And so, John's Too, was born.
But, all good things must come to an end. My parents should have retired a long time ago, but the business was their life. In 2018 they decided to put the store up for sale, but it just didn't happen.
Then, Mama passed away unexpectedly in January 2021. Not long after that, Daddy decided to try to sell again. And, after several months, the store was under contract.
And yesterday afternoon my siblings - Bart Dever and Lara Dever Trahan - and I put pen to paper and signed our names alongside our father's, selling the store and the bar. We experienced a range of emotions. We had to remind Daddy that he wasn't quitting...he was retiring and that was a good thing. But it was very bittersweet because my siblings and I should have been there in supporting roles - not signing those papers. It should have been Mama and Daddy signing... together... retiring... together. It wasn't fair.
But, life isn't fair. And we play the hand we're dealt. We're happy that Daddy is finally able to spend his time doing whatever he wants to or nothing at all. He's looking forward to hunting and fishing and enjoying his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
And so, today, for the first time, John's Store was closed. No gas was pumped. No burgers were grilled. It's the end of an Era. And we couldn't be prouder of our parents' success. We thank the community for their loyalty and support through the years.
And yes, the new owners will be open for business in the near future and you'll be able to visit John's Store again... and if you time it right, you'll get to visit with John Dever while you're there...he just won't be sitting on his wooden stool behind the register. And that's OK."
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