3 years after Katrina, St. Bernard Parish was by no means anywhere near back to health and frankly, a shell of its former self. That didn’t stop a Chalmette native from making an impact for the next decade.
In December of 2008, Kelly Songy made a decision that most simply wouldn’t. She opened a coffee shop in the heart of her beaten down hometown. “Opening that fast was a lot more than a business decision to me, and I wasn’t the only one to take the chance, Chalmette is one big family and I was proud to see others open up as well. We needed each other”, said Songy.
Not only did she open PJ’s at a rather inopportune time, but she has also prospered, to say the least. In 10 years of business, the location has racked up acknowledgments within the Ballard Brands/PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans umbrella, including Rookie of the Year, multiple time Franchisee of the Year and consistent finishes as a Top 10 location in sales including multiple years at number 1. She has also been given multiple Community Service and Achievement awards. “It’s important to give back, it’s that simple. With what we’ve been thru, it’s natural.” said, Songy.
She’s been giving thanks to her customers this year by giving away coffee and tea for a few hours each and every week. The 10-year celebration culminates this week with aggressive specials every day including the finale on Sunday, Dec 2nd, the anniversary of 10 years in business. The location will be giving away PJ’s products and memorabilia every hour as well as $1000 worth of “grand” prizes to every 100th customer.
“We certainly wouldn’t have made it this far without a great support system from the Ballard brothers, the corporate team and the other franchisees. I’ve also been blessed with a wonderful group of employees over the years, they are the straw that stirs the drink!” Explained Songy.
“Kelly Songy’s Chalmette PJ’s is one of the top performing locations in the PJ’s system, which can be attributed to her outstanding customer service, her dedication to her community, her incredible employees, and her passion for coffee and the PJ’s brand. We look forward to the next 10 years of having Kelly and her team in our family!” Furthered Paul Ballard, Principal at Ballard Brands and PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans.
All of this in one of the organizations smallest markets-Chalmette, Louisiana.
“I’ve loved working for Kelly, she’s been way more than a boss, she’s been a great friend and mentor. I’m confident I can speak for the whole staff with that”, Kasey Cupp, the General Manager and employee of 8 years.
“To make it 10 years has been tough, there’s no denying that but all of the acknowledgment and thanks goes to the customers. Without them, we don’t make it a day. The St. Bernard community is a special place and this is proof of that and I owe them thanks, a lot of thanks.” said a heartfelt Kelly Songy.
Please visit https://m.facebook.com/pjschalmette for details. PJ’s Chalmette location is located at 2015 E. Judge Perez Dr.