The sun is barely up in Delcambre and a few regular customers stroll into the convenience store at the Texaco station on Hwy. 14 (Delcambre’s Fuel Depot) for breakfast. The 24-hour gas station and convenience store has been a staple in town since first opened by Lester and Irene Champagne in 1997, originally a convenience store with Chevron fuel.
Today, sons Clint, Jude and Cotty Champagne continue the business that their parents established, along with the help of manager Becky Pullin, who this year celebrates her 25th year with Fuel Depot.
With 19 pumps and some of the best gas prices around, the station is always hopping with business. Becky says they are able to keep gas prices lower than many stations because they sell so much of it, noting that many truckers drive from Lafayette to the Delcambre Texaco station.
As part of a fishing community, the Fuel Depot offers a variety of fishing supplies: tackle, live worms, frozen shrimp, turkey necks and melt (for crabbing) along with fishing poles and hooks. You can get a fishing or hunting license, secure a money order, buy postage stamps and shop for almost every basic need.
But Becky says the food is also a big draw to the store. “We have a small group who have been coming for breakfast probably for 15 years.” Hot Food Corner II, open 6a-7p, serves a full breakfast, daily plate lunches (with generous portions), chicken tenders, chicken kababs, barbeque burgers and loads of pulled pork. The Fuel Depot’s kitchen also serves up short items like biscuits, cheese burger rolls, the popular chicken and cheese Chrispitos and the chicken and cheese rolls. Customers come for the jalapeno corndogs and Kurt’s Martin’s hot links and boudin as well. And of course, no convenience store would be complete without Slushies, Slush Puppies, Icees, and fountain drinks (with crushed – not cubed- ice) and frozen ice cream.
The Champagnes – and Becky – prides themselves on keeping the store clean at all times and the service quick. “We have three registers, and there’s no wait; people like to get in and out,” says Becky. Over the years, the station has been recognized with bronze, silver and even a gold award for service, sales, cleanliness and customer service.
If it seems that there’s always something different at the Fuel Depot, Becky confirms that they add new items once a month. It’s just one way that The Champagnes show their appreciation for the satisfaction of being part of the community.