Haydel’s Furniture reaches 94-year milestone

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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NORCO — Nearly a century has passed since electrician L.J. Haydel left his career with Shell Norco to pursue a business venture at the beginning of the Great Depression.

His general manager at Shell warned him the business wouldn’t last, but he returned with an apology and offered congratulations 27 years later, when Haydel’s Furniture & Appliances moved to its current location at 541 Apple Street in Norco. This spring, Haydel’s celebrates 94 years in business, having survived not only the Depression, but countless ups and downs of the economy, a global pandemic and, most recently, the devastation of Hurricane Ida.

L.J. Haydel never parted ways with the store, even after enduring a stroke. It was a major part of his daily life until he passed away in 1982. The same was true for his son, Harold Haydel, who served customers from the 1940s through the early 2000s before his passing in 2008.

Third-generation owner Michael Haydel recalled how the store once carried bicycles, tractors and lawnmowers before evolving into what it is today — a competitively priced dealer of living room, bedroom and dining room furniture, kitchen/utility appliances, and home electronics. To this day, most of the customers are familiar with Haydel’s history as one of the oldest surviving businesses in the River Parishes. Older customers remember how the store was once a drop-off location for Louisiana Power and Light, long before locals paid Entergy bills online. Others come in with referrals from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

The past few years have added new layers to the 94-year history, allowing Haydel’s to reassert its role as an essential business in tune with the needs of the community. Haydel’s fared better than some big box stores during inventory challenges that shook the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our goal was to make sure what we purchased what we could at the time,” Michael Haydel said. “As time has gone on, things have improved greatly. The main products – mid-range washers, dryers, refrigerators – are now back where they should be.”

Haydel’s had a major role in the rebuilding of the community after Hurricane Ida, providing the inventory needed to move families back into their homes. The showroom was reopened to the community by September 7, only days after the storm.

In the months that followed, of the customers came to Haydel’s after not being able to find a particular product elsewhere. After finding competitive pricing in a convenient location, many left saying, “We’ll be back.”

This past year, Haydel’s was voted Best Home Appliance Store and Best Home Furnishings Store in the second annual Best of the River Parishes competition.

“It’s very humbling to know that people think that about us and to know we can offer quality product at a good price with follow-up customer service,” Haydel said.