Bayou Billy – A Bit of History
My life has been in food concessions since the age of 10. My mother played Industrial League Softball. At the park where she played there was no concession stand. I cut a deal with my neighbor who was the local Coca Cola plant manager to bring me a crate of 16oz. bottle Cokes and some Coke cups. At that time there was no such thing as a 2-Liter. Cokes only came in 6-10 and 16oz. sizes. Working off a card table out of the truck of my mom’s car, I put ice in the cups and sold them for 10 cents each. That night I made a profit of $23.10. At that time, grown men working in factories were only making $12.00 per day. That day my life was formed.
As time went on, I sold anything that could be sold in food concessions. In 1978 I opened up a fun food factory. We were selling about 3200 bushels of popcorn, 2500 bags of cotton candy and 1000’s of bottles of homemade lemonade in grocery stores and gas stations per week. Then I sold that business and fulfilled my life-long dream of opening a full-service restaurant. I operated the 160 seat restaurant in Morgan City, LA for 8 1/2 years. I loved cooking and meeting the public more than anything on earth. In August of 1991 my dream restaurant came to an end when hurricane Andrew ripped into my restaurant and left only one wall standing. I decided after talking to the Allstate man, that I was in good hands and I shut the restaurant down forever.
I found myself a northern girl from Saginaw, MI. I got her at Sam’s Club. We moved to West Palm Beach Florida. In time, we started working a few shows in Florida. This is the toughest place on earth to be a food vendor. We had a grandson born in Saginaw and saw him for only 2 hours in the first 2 years of his life, which wasn’t working well for us, so I said we need to go to Michigan in the summer to work and get to know our grandson.
In 1995 we built our first mobile Bayou Billy Restaurant. Eventually, we made it into one of the most popular booths at each of the events we worked. I took my signature dishes and went on the road with them. In 1998 we added our Homemade Soda Pop and started manufacturing tin mugs in which to sell soda. Our formula for the Homemade Sodas are from my family’s business back in the 40’s.
Now we had a winning combination. Everyone was wanting the Bayou Billy Collectable Mugs. We started selling mobile soda stores to other vendors. We now have 65 Bayou Billy Mobile Stores in 38 States. This year we added Mobile Restaurants in Michigan, Rochester New York and Tennessee. We also expect a new Store in California later this year.
We also introduced Snow Cream which is a Great Old Southern Thang. Our tasty new dessert item was brilliantly served in a smaller version of our famous Bayou Billy Collectable Tin Mug.
All of our success comes from our loyal customers who have bought our food and drink, and vendors who have bought our Mobile Stores. We have committed to both our customers and vendors to sell only the best product. I believe that our customers come back to us year after year because we give them more than their money’s worth, plus we have good food. Other concessionaires act as if they’re oil companies and charge what the market will bear. I believe that if you give customers good value, they will be your customers for years to come. After all, I intend on doing this for years to come.