Fleet Supply/Bayou Black Electric continue to evolve

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When Fleet Supply started in 1974, the store was primarily an AC-Delco distributorship.

Today, it’s evolved and has become so much more.

Now in its 41st year of service, the Houma-based business has grown with the times, featuring filters, belts, exhaust products and many other related products to the oilfield industry and beyond.

In 2012, Fleet Supply became even more diverse when it acquired Bayou Black Electric – a purchase that delved the company into electric supply for the first time – another sign of the company’s continual growth.

“We’ve always strived to be reliable, have products that everybody needs and continually stay up with the latest technologies,” said Christopher Lapeyrouse, a corporate officer at Fleet Supply. “We want to provide great service to our customers, and all of those things are a huge part of allowing us to do the things that we do.”

For Fleet Supply, it’s all part of the company’s continual growth.

Lapeyrouse said the company was founded in 1974 by a couple of individuals, including James Trahan, who is still with the company today, serving as the business’ manager. It was owned and operated in a small, modest 1,500-square-foot warehouse in Houma. The purpose of the business was to serve as an AC-Delco warehouse distributor.

But over time, that drastically changed. Lapeyrouse said his father and partners purchased the business in the early 1980s, and during the past several years, the company has changed significantly to meet the needs of its customers.

Fleet Supply now encompasses a 63,000-square-foot warehouse, has 50-plus employees and has product lines that have grown beyond AC-Delco and now include leading brands like Baldwin, Racor, Donaldson, Gates and Fleetguard, among several others.

The company also has a wide customer base that includes clients and customers from Terrebonne, Lafourche and throughout almost every area of southeast Louisiana.

Adding Bayou Black Electric to the lineup was also a change. Previously owned by the Cenac family, the electric company was purchased in 2012 by Fleet Supply, and the decision was made to keep the business alive in its former name and location – 5086 La. Highway 311 in Houma.

“We’ve definitely migrated over the years,” Lapeyrouse said. “Our product lines have all completely changed. We started as strictly AC-Delco, and over time, we’ve migrated away from that. Over time, the business has changed and we handle all sorts of different types of products. With the purchase of Bayou Black Electric, that got us involved on the electric side of things, as well, which has expanded our horizons, as well. We have a full line of electric supplies.”

The product offerings are nice, but Lapeyrouse said it would all be for naught if not for Fleet Supply’s business philosophy of taking care of clients with the best customer service.

Lapeyrouse said Fleet Supply takes pride in looking out for its customers, working continually to evolve to stay relevant to the ever-changing market. The company also offers daily delivery service to customers all throughout Louisiana, while shipping products to any location around the world, when requested.

That service, combined with Fleet Supply’s wide array of high-quality products are a must – the bread and butter of why the business has been able to sustain itself over the past four decades and now beyond.

“We continually keep track of the market and stay in close contact with our customers,” Lapeyrouse said. “We do everything in our power to make sure that we’re providing what they’re in demand of, and make sure that we’re sourcing it out properly.”

So what’s next? What does the future hold?

For Lapeyrouse, he thinks it’ll be much of the same – the continual pursuit of growth with the constant commitment to customer service and fair business practices.

That’s the recipe that’s worked for the past 40 years, so why change now?

“We’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing. We’ll always continue to offer good products and top-notch service,” Lapeyrouse said. “We’ll always take pride in having the products in stock and on the shelves, while having great stocks of inventory. We want to always have reliable delivery routes and keep being good about that.

“I think if you ask our customers, they’d tell you this: We have a lot of inventory. We take pride in having a lot of things that other people don’t. I think we’ll look to keep doing that so that we can keep going strong.”

Fleet Supply was once run out of a 1,500-square foot warehouse. It’s now operated out of this massive 63,000-square foot warehouse in Houma. The local business takes pride in having the products that no one else has, while providing elite customer service.