Roy Devillier, founder of Roy’s Fresh Lemonade, and his daughter, Cynthia Devillier Thompson, join Discover Lafayette to discuss the family-run business Roy started almost 30 years ago. They truly represent the American way of working hard and having a good time in the process as they make a living.
Roy is a retired pharmacist who began his adventure with lemonade in 1994. He had attended a flea market as a funnel cake vendor and wasn’t able to find lemonade that tasted good. Roy decided that he could make a refreshing lemonade that would wow festival-goers.
He began experimenting with water, sugar, and lemons. Some concoctions were too sweet, some too sour, and some were just plain bad. But after about a week of testing his recipe, Roy hit it right and Roy’s Fresh Lemonade was born. Initially, Roy would make 30 gallons at a time in a large vat, with Cynthia helping by stirring the lemonade mix with a wooden paddle. Eventually, Roy realized that the manufacturing had to be made more efficient and came up with a stirrer that was 4 feet long and automated the process.
Roys’ first client was a Lafayette Walmart and his lemonade is now distributed and served at large events across the U. S. Once you buy a cup, refills are half-price….always. You can bring a cup from 10 years ago and the offer is honored. Roy’s Fresh Lemonade is also offered at local restaurants such as Deano’s, Old Tyme Grocery, Prejean’s Restaurant, Y-Not Stop convenience stores, and L.T. Seafood Restaurant.
The National High School Rodeo held annually in Wyoming counts on Roy’s Fresh Lemonade to wow participants and supporters. Roy says the Rodeo is the “Super Bowl for High School rodeo participants and all 50 states are represented.” (Photo by Ed Glazar of the Gillette WY News Record)
The lemonade began to be distributed on a large scale after Roy served it at a Native American tribal event in Oklahoma. The event promoter wanted to offer Roy’s lemonade in their ten casinos, and “That’s how we got into the distribution business.” Once the lemonade got a foothold in popularity, the distributer asked for the right to market to others and things really took off.
Roy’s Fresh Lemonade is now manufactured by a beverage co-packer in Dallas, which allows the Devillier family to sell to a broader market across the U. S. “What do Coke and Pepsi do? They sell concentrated syrup to vendors. So, fifteen years ago, I turned Roy’s Fresh Lemonade into a concentrated syrup to keep up with the demand. It has a shelf life of approximately one year and I can go anywhere I want, and can sell one box or 50 boxes.” Roy Devillier
Cynthia and her husband, Allen, work full-time in support of Roy’s Fresh Lemonade, They manage inventory, distribution, and marketing of Roy’s. Cynthia is the only child of Roy and Mary Devillier. Cynthia graduated from UL with her master’s in communication and worked in government, nonprofit, and healthcare sectors.
Cynthia Devillier, her husband, Allen, and their two daughters make Roy’s Fresh Lemonade a true family business success working alongside Cynthia’s dad, Roy.
Roys Fresh Lemonade can be contacted at (337) 849-4460 for orders or for more information visit their Facebook page.