Champagne family purchasing Robie’s.
For 68 years, the Russo Family has been a part of the grocery store business in Abbeville. By closing time today, the Russo family will no longer be in the grocery business.
Bobby and Jim Russo of Abbeville are handing the store keys to the Champagne brothers from Erath later today.
The Russo brothers are selling Robie’s Food Center to the Champagne family, who own and operate Champagne’s Grocery Store in Erath.
The Russos and Champagnes are signing the documents on Monday to make the sale official.
“When planning our retirement, it was important for us to find a family we trusted to purchase the store,” said Bobby. “We truly feel like the store will be in good hands, and our families will be proud to continue shopping there.”
The Champagnes plan to maintain staff and management at the store, so the same friendly faces who have been serving the community for years will continue to do so. They also plan to continue serving the same specialty lineup and deli favorites for lunch.
“Our Italian sausage is made from a family recipe handed down for generations. I was kind of nervous that we stop selling it,” added Jim Russo. “The Champagnes will continue all our Robie’s recipes.”
The Champagnes are planning a soft transition for the name Robie’s to Champagne’s over the next six months.
“We are excited to begin serving the Abbeville community,” said Cotty Champagne.
History of Robies
Robert Earl “Robie” Russo opened a grocery store on State Street in 1953, shortly after marrying Joyce Hebert of Abbeville. He dedicated his life to serving Abbeville.
Robie opened Robie’s Food Center at his first location on the corner of Second Street and State Street in 1953.
After a quick success, Robie opened a second location in Jeanerette in 1959 and eventually closed the store in 2015.
The Russo brothers began working in the family business at a young age and continued working for the store throughout high school.
Bobby and Jim joined their father full time and eventually built a new store in 1994.
After nearly 50 years in the business, Mr. Robie passed away in 2003, leaving behind his legacy, knowledge and work ethic to his sons.
After purchasing the business, Bobby and Jim became the second generation of ownership of Robie’s and third-generation Russo men in business in Abbeville, all at the same corner of Second Street and State Street.
Thousands of people have worked at Robie’s since 1953. The Russo family said they have so much gratitude for Abbeville and Vermilion Parish.
“The Russo family thanks the city of Abbeville for allowing us the opportunity to serve them for so many years,” said Jim.
“Through hurricanes, ice storms, floods, and even a global pandemic, we are so proud to have been able to work to be there for the community during those times,” said Bobby. “We will always be proud citizens of Abbeville.”
Originally published in the Kaplan Herald, 3/28/21