Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The acquisition helps one of Acadiana’s top employers expand its onshore footprint.

Quality Companies, an oilfield construction and fabrication group that has earned a spot on ABiz’s  list of Acadiana’s Top 50 Privately Held Companies for the past two years, announced Tuesday that it has purchased Traco Production Services and will consolidate operations at Traco’s existing 14-acre facility on Griffen Road in Youngsville. Quality plans to invest about $2 million building an approximately 40,000-square-foot fabrication plant and “green” paint facility, as well as a 12,000-square-foot corporate headquarters.
Quality declined to disclose the purchase price.

Traco is now a sister company to Quality Construction & Production and Quality Production Management. QCP and Quality’s corporate offices are currently located at 133 Youngsville Highway in Lafayette; QPM operates in New Iberia on Highway 90. Both of those facilities will relocate to Youngsville after construction is complete early next year.

Quality was founded by Troy Collins and Nathan Granger in 2001, and in 2007 was named one of the fastest-growing companies in America by Entrepreneur Magazine, earning a spot on its Hot 500 list.

Traco Production Services Inc., founded in 1987 by Tommy and Gaynell Allen, sells a complete line of new and refurbished ASME-coded production equipment, separators, pressure vessels, instrument and electrical safety systems and complete dehydration systems, and provides professional installation and repair for most of the products it sells. Because of Traco’s ASME-coded shop, Quality can now build production pressure vessels, a capability it did not have before the buyout, Granger says.

Traco was also attractive to Quality because of its concentration in onshore work. “They are very experienced in all facets of onshore work, mostly shale [including northwest Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale],” says Granger. Roughly 80 percent of Quality’s work is in the Gulf, which Granger expects to pick up at a healthy pace this year, with its onshore work mainly in North Dakota. Quality has 650 employees and Traco has about 100, Granger says. No layoffs will take place, and Quality expects the onshore expansion opportunities to create about 100 new jobs for the combined companies in the next two years.

Granger anticipates the organization will eclipse the $100 million revenue mark within three to five years. Quality reported $55 million in revenues in 2009, earning the 28th spot on ABiz’s 2010 list of Acadiana’s largest privately held companies. The 2011 list publishes July 27. — Leslie Turk

Waste Not

Crowley rice mill takes proactive approach to going green

Falcon Rice Mill celebrated April 22, Earth Day, just like any other day of the year — leaving nothing to waste in its ongoing effort to go green. Cajun Country Rice’s home has been “green” long before sustainability became a buzzword.

Because buying and milling locally supports area farmers and local economies and reduces transportations and fuel costs, Falcon buys only 100 percent Louisiana rice. And when it comes to the milling process, Falcon has it down to a science — literally. Rice grains have several components that typically become waste products in the milling process: husks, bran and brewers. At Falcon, each fragment of grain serves a purpose, and nothing goes to waste:

•Rice husks or hulls are the shell coverings around each grain of rice. When removed, they are commonly used as livestock bedding. Recently, a partnership between CLECO, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and UL Lafayette has given students and faculty the chance to experiment with rice hulls to produce electricity and natural gas. Rice hulls are showing promise as a vital component in producing bio fuels and other gasses that have the potential to replace natural gas.

•Rice bran is the brown layer found on rice kernels, and is a bi-product of the rice milling process. Bran is often used in livestock feed. Additionally, many hunters use bran in deer hunting.

•During the milling process, there are many lost fragments, called brokens and brewers. Broken rice is sold to pet food companies to use in their products, while brewers — best known for their use in the brewing of beer — can also be found as an ingredient in pet food.

“It is important to us to continue our grandfather’s philosophy of finding a use for everything,” says Robert Trahan, third generation Falcon and CFO of the Crowley-based business.

Mall of Acadiana adding four new stores

The Mall of Acadiana confirmed that Francesca’s Collections, Apricot Lane, Bare Escentuals and Thai Max are joining its mix of retail tenants. Additionally, Crazy 8, a children’s apparel store, has just opened in the mall next to Bath & Body Works.

Francesca’s Collections opens this summer next to The Limited and will carry eclectic, fashion-forward styles in women’s clothing, accessories and gifts. Apricot Lane, named a “Hot Concept” winner recently by the International Council of Shopping Centers, will also open this summer near Chico’s. A franchised store, it features branded fashion apparel, jewelry, handbags and accessories.

Apricot Lane retail boutiques are supported by the franchise company Country Visions. Former firefighters and furniture retailers Ken Petersen and Tom Brady opened their first retail gift store in August 1991 at Vacaville, Calif., under the name Country Clutter.

Also joining the retail lineup is Bare Escentuals, which is locating near Center Court and carries mineral cosmetics, as well as skin care and body care products.
Thai Max is already under construction in the food court.

The mall is owned by Chattanooga, Tenn.-based CBL & Associates Properties Inc. — Leslie Turk

Rooms to Go coming to Lafayette

Rooms to Go, a moderately priced furniture retailer with Louisiana locations in Baton Rouge and the New Orleans area, is building a store at the old Marshall’s Nursery site on Ambassador Caffery Parkway.

The 35,000-square-foot store is locating at 3550 Ambassador Caffery Parkway. Rooms to Go Vice President Peter Weitzner says the store hopes to be open by the first quarter of 2012.
Based in Seffner, Fla., (East Tampa Bay area), Rooms to Go was founded in 1991 and now calls itself “America’s No. 1 independent furniture company,” boasting what it says is the country’s largest furniture inventory. The company sells living room and bedroom furniture online and through retail stores. The company’s model tends toward every day low price points rather than the constant sales often promoted by furniture stores. The pre-designed room groups make it easy for people to purchase everything they need to furnish a room from one store or return for additional pieces as they complete it. Most of the items are in stock, and in most stores next-day delivery is available.

The Lafayette store will be serviced by Rooms to Go’s Pearl River distribution center, which serves the state’s five stores. Like Gretna, the Pearl River store is a Rooms to Go Outlet. The other Rooms to Go retail centers are in Metairie, Covington and Baton Rouge.

It also has stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Puerto Rico. In 2005 Cindy Crawford launched an exclusive line for Rooms to Go called Cindy Crawford Home.

Pelican Properties LFT LLC purchased the Ambassador Caffery site from a local group, Ash 4 Holdings LLC, for $2.5 million in November of last year. Ash 4 bought the property from Marshall Mugnier of Ambassador Properties in May 2007 for $2.3 million, according to courthouse records. The secretary of state has Samuel David Abraman as Ash 4’s registered agent and Gabriel Shaik, Dr. Matthew Abraham and Grady J. Abraham as its officers. — Leslie Turk

It’s a Car Wash!

Retired oil man Mark Veverica is investing about $3 million to bring Classic Auto Spa to a 1.6-acre site at the corner of Camellia Boulevard and Johnston Street — helped along the way by Architect Bob Barras’ intriguing design that has had motorists wondering what’s up at the intersection for months. Veverica studied car wash concepts in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., before settling on this system, which features a 160-foot tunnel that can process 180 cars an hour. “I studied the unsuccessful car washes as much as I studied the successful ones,” Veverica says. In conducting his market analysis, Veverica learned that 38 percent of the population does not use a professional car wash. “You can wash your car for as little as $5 or you can spend $120,” he says. I’m in that population, but come June, when Veverica opens, I’m giving it up. If I can pop into Classic Auto Spa on my way home and get a quick wash for $5, I’m there. — Leslie Turk

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