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Friends Safety Supply quadruples in size: New LaPlace location offers fire resistant clothing sales, options

LAPLACE — While working at industrial plants in the River Region, Tim Groom struggled to find reasonably priced fire resistant clothing stores that didn’t require long drives during working hours.

“When you’re working shift work, hours can be anywhere from 4 in the morning to 6 or 7 o’clock at night,” Groom said. “I had to drive a long way for FRC clothes, and then the stores would have limited selections and only be open until about 3:30 p.m.”

Groom took matters into his own hands in October 2014, when he opened Friends Safety Supply to bring convenient hours and fair prices on fire resistant clothing (FRC) and accessories to LaPlace.

The new Friends Safety Supply is located 194 W. Fifth Street in LaPlace, next to John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School.

The store relocated this month to 194 W. Fifth Street in LaPlace, the site of the old Red & White grocery after previously serving the River Parishes from U.S. 51.

The move expanded the store from 1,200 square feet to 5,000 square feet, adding fitting rooms, spacious aisles and more room for shirts, pants, coveralls, safety glasses, gloves, hard hats, ID holders and more.

Store hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and Groom said the community could find a vast selection of new and pre-owned items and frequent sales.

Friends Safety Supply offers new and used clothing for lower prices than what plant workers could expect to find at other stores.

Used pants, shirts and coveralls run from $15 to $30. New shirts and pants are priced at $30-$45, and new coveralls start at $60.

According to Groom, shirts that sell for $38 typically cost more than $60 at other stores.

“Greed is not a part of me,” Groom said. “I want people to feel satisfied knowing they’re getting more for less. If I can’t get a good price on an item, I won’t sell it.”

Embroidery services are also offered to add names and company logos to purchases, Groom said.

Company accounts are encouraged, as Friends Safety Supply offers deals on bulk orders.

Accessories include safety glasses, gloves, hard hats, ID holders, stickers and much more.

Rocky Rakocy, account manager for Apache Industrial Services, said Apache employees have ordered FRC clothing from Friends Safety Supply for the past few years.

“From my experience, the customer service has always been excellent,” Rakocy said. “The clothing quality is excellent, and customer service is always first.”

Rakocy said Groom’s pricing is competitive with other stores, and the pre-owned FRC offerings are unique to the River Parishes.

“It’s all about saving money, and Tim can help you do that,” Rakocy said. “He can sell you clothes, put on patches or alter pants. It’s a one-stop shop.”

Groom plans to purchase the store building in the next three years. He hopes to eventually create his own clothing line to improve the design of fire resistant clothing.

For instance, Groom said many FRC shirts could be improved by adding pockets with buttons so items won’t tumble out.

With turnarounds leading to increased business, Groom is looking to hire one full time and one part time employee skilled in customer service, sales and cash register operations. He prefers applicants visit 194 W. Fifth Street to inquire about open positions.

For more information, call 985-330-6224, like Friends Safety Supply on Facebook or visit friendssafetysupply.com.