ADVERTISER BUILDING UP FOR MIXED-USE PROJECT

Logan Trotter, son of once prominent Lafayette businessman Billy Trotter, has options to buy the old Daily Advertiser building on Jefferson Street and is planning to convert it into a mixed-use project. The younger Trotter, who relocated to Lafayette from New Orleans after the storm, tells The Independent Weekly he hasn't yet worked out details of the development; such projects typically include living or lease space (or a hotel) and bottom level commercial square footage for office tenants or retailers like restaurants.

The young entrepreneur doesn't have any partners at this time and says his father, who for many years was a business partner with Lafayette's Moody family in banking and restaurant ventures and the Evangeline Downs racetrack, is not involved in the downtown project. The elder Trotter, however, recently purchased a new home in Lafayette.

A couple of blocks down Jefferson Street, plans for another mixed-use concept are beginning to take shape, according to Tsunami co-owner Michele Ezell. The martini bar once housed in front of the building next to Tsunami will be converted into a posh lounge, confirms Ezell, who recently purchased the 11,000-square-foot building with her husband Sean and sister Leah Simon (also an owner of Tsunami). The partners are leasing the 1,800 square feet that will be renovated into an upscale piano bar with an extensive wine list and high end scotches. The non-smoking venue will likely offer a small menu of finger foods and cold salads, Ezell says.

The trio hopes to open the venture ' titled "Lounge." ' by the end of the year.

The partners are still working on a plan for the remainder of the building, which will include loft condominiums on the upper level, some of which is atop Tsunami, and commercial spaces for either retail or office on the first floor. The old building housed a large portion of Abdalla's department store until the late 1990s.

IF THE SHOE FITS

The trendy shoe shop that's been fitting the soles of Houma's fashion-forward women for the past two years is bringing its chic boutique to The Shops at Martial on Kaliste Saloom Road. Shoefits tentatively plans to open mid-October next to the new Hub City Diner ' the first expansion for independent retailer Jodi Webb.

To bring unique styles to her store, Webb travels to 10-12 shoe markets every year, jet-setting from Vegas to New York, Atlanta, Miami and Dallas. "We travel from one side of the country to the other. We hit every shoe market there is, so if it's hot, we carry it. Nothing comes out that we don't know about," Webb says. But while Shoefits carries the high-end lines Carrie Bradshaw would spring for ' like Donald Pliner and Cole Haan and Bernardo ' it also offers affordable brands like Vaneli, Matisse, Volatile, Yellow Box and Chinese Laundry. "They could be $40 to $240," says Webb, who owns the store with her mother, Shanna Trosclair.

The store has exclusivity for some major brands in this market ' as well as a large selection of unique accessories and handbags, from makers like Jessica Simpson, Rampage, Tano and Hobo. The shop has the feel of a boutique with excellent customer service, Webb maintains, but customers are free to help themselves. "It's not intimidating at all," she says of the vivid shop that plays upbeat music and features black and chrome fixtures with pink walls and zebra patterned furniture. "We're going to open up with about 2,000 pairs of shoes. This is not a small operation, and what really sets us apart is our presentation," Webb adds.

Shoefits plans to open in Mandeville in the next year and will soon release a franchise packet, with the first locations slated to open in Fort Collins, Colo., and Sugar Land, Texas.

A Houma native who has a degree in merchandising from Nicholls State, Webb lived in Lafayette from 1982 to 1998, working outside sales positions. She also spent two years as a buyer for Brother's.

UL RECRUITING GOES HIGH TECH

Lafayette-based Web site developer Firefly Digital has created "Ragin Recruiter," a top-notch recruiting tool for UL Lafayette's Ragin' Cajun football team. Image-driven, informative and easy to navigate, the site promotes the university's football program and its athletic and academic opportunities to high school recruits, their coaches and parents. It will serve as UL's primary recruitment tool.

Although the site was developed and designed with coaches and recruits in mind, www.ragincajunfootball.com is publicly accessible and offers great information for UL football fans. It does have a password protected, non-public area for coaches and recruits that includes instant messaging capabilities.

The site's recruiting components also work with the coaching staff's PDAs (personal digital assistants), allowing coaches on the recruiting trail to connect to the Internet from their PDA and manage recruiting information while actually watching a prospect in action.

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