Last year Lafayette Parish retail sales got off to a sluggish start, trailing 2009 by 14 percent during the first two months and still off almost 11 percent by March. Sales soon after began to close the gap, however, and we ended 2010 up a small 0.78 percent, thanks in large part to a strong showing in December. December spending topped the $517 million mark, making it the fourth highest month on record for the parish, and total sales for the year were $4.8 billion. It was a clear sign of the parish’s resilience in the face of the drilling moratorium.
And it appears that the momentum is carrying over into 2011. For the first two months figures are already ahead 8.64 percent, with February showing a 9.5 percent increase over February a year ago. Sales in January totaled $369.8 million, and in February they grew to $382 million. — Leslie Turk
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.