Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 6, 2004


LAPLACE – Even LaPlace Ford owner Cliff Lubin was surprised by the turnout recently when New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn made a guest appearance at his store on Belle Terre Boulevard.

Lubin had Horn begin what will be a series of appearance at the store, in what he is calling a “non-sales event,” to give local kids an opportunity to meet the Saints star receiver.

“Joe Horn is a family guy, and he shares the kind of values that we have,” Lubin remarked. “So I was talking to him about coming to our place a few times and he was immediately interested in doing it.”

But the turnout Horn brought was even more than Lubin expected.

On the first evening of the appearance, nearly 400 kids and parents showed up for the meet-and-greet, autograph session. The showroom at LaPlace Ford was so crowded that it was even difficult for Horn to get in the front door.

“Next time we are probably going to do something outside with a tent and some ropes to make some lines,”

Lubin said with a smile, the morning after. “But it was just great to see the kids all have such a good time.”

Lubin said that Horn will make several more appearances in the coming weeks and months.

Horn lives in the River Region and Lubin said that a recent conversation the two had led to Horn wanting to make the appearances, which are not paid events.

“Joe lives in this area and we talked about how we try to be a community store. He’s a local guy and we mirror the values he has about family and community, so that’s why he wanted to do this,” Lubin explained.

Lubin, the owner and general manager of the store with his wife Janice, has operated locally since 1999, and said that the key to the success they’ve had is to just remain local.

“People know that if there is a problem, they can see us right here. The service element is what we have always emphasized,” he added.