35 years of Ralph's Market with Brandon Trosclair
Born and raised into the grocery business, Brandon Trosclair started his work history around the age of 15.
From working in the deli, at the cash register, as a stock boy, and even a cake decorator, Trosclair grew into a management position for Ralph’s Market, that of which he now owns. This year, the market is celebrating it’s 35th year.
“We aren’t a corporate business, it’s family owned. So I really enjoy the fact that if we have a problem, issue, or see an opportunity, we have the ability to take care of something and make changes now. We don’t have to wait for a line of responses,” Trosclair said.
The upside to not being a big corporate business is that Ralph’s has the ability to buy as much local produce as they can. Cathy Harris is the Produce Supervisor, and she has even won Grand Champion at the Strawberry Festival 37 times. She provides local strawberries during strawberry season.
Trosclair buys his own food from the store, and says six to seven days every week he eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner made from food from the Ralph’s store.
“My dad taught me a long time ago that customers can go wherever they want for a can of corn or loaf of bread. It’s the same everywhere. When you’re buying from a local store, though, you’re buying fresh local produce and meat that has been sourced from the United States,” Trosclair said. “The meat is cut inside of our store. At corporate stores, like Wal-Mart, half the time their meats aren’t even cut in store, and are packaged in another state beforehand. We use high quality.”
Ralph’s Market has won best grocery store in Ascension Parish for the last two years, and Trosclair is proud of that. They’ve also won awards for best king cakes, best fried fish, and best bread pudding, to name a few.
Essentially, Trosclair has great taste buds. "The deli food is cooked according to my taste buds, actually," he said. "I’m very particular about it. I call the red beans and rice my baby, too, because it took nine months to formulate it and get the recipe exactly how I wanted it.”
Their chef is from St. James, the area that his father grew up in, and cooks the food that Trosclair grew up on. Trosclair said that if he doesn’t like how something tastes, they can easily work together on adjusting it.
“I love the jambalaya from here, though. On a Saturday at 10 a.m., Kirk Brady, who makes the jambalaya, finishes up the batch for the day, and I make sure I eat some. He’s a great cook,” Trosclair said.
Trosclair is very honored and blessed to be celebrating 35 years. He gives most of the credit to the customers for the success of the market. Their mission statement is to be the best local grocer in the capitol region, while also providing ridiculously amazing customer service.
“Part of our customer service includes a six-foot rule. We have 215 employees, and everyone follows that rule. If someone is within six-foot of an employee, they are supposed to engage with the customer and ask if they need any help,” Trosclair said. “Our goal with that is to make sure the customers shopping experience is exceeded beyond their expectations from the moment they walk in until the moment they walk out.”
Ralph’s Market is typically called the "Feel Good Store," because there’s always lots of hugging and kissing, families that come in and out, and employees that have been there for 10-15 years who have become like family to customers, too.
Trosclair’s favorite part about the store is the family atmosphere.
“At the end of the day, even though I travel so much for the job, I’m always glad to come back to Ascension Parish. This is home. There’s something about the people, culture, and food. It will always be home,” Trosclair said.
His favorite travel location is Washington State, where he visited last year for apple season and helped harvest apples. He also went last year for cherry season.
Trosclair enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, golfing, and playing around the livestock at their home, which includes horses, cows, and chickens.
Follow Darian on Twitter @dariangshark.