The Slagle community is one with a strong bond amongst its residents. One resident, in particular, wants to do everything he can to be a resource to his friends and neighbors, as well as grow the community as a whole.
Robert Haymon owns the Slagle Mall and takes pride in all that it offers the local community. The Slagle Mall is a restaurant, gas station, grocery store, and hardware store all rolled into one. It boasts an ever-expanding line of products, and values feedback from customers.
“It’s plain and simple. If you want it, I want to be able to sell it to you,” said Haymon. “We know we may not be able to have everything you're looking for all the time, but we want to carry a lot of essentials to save you a long drive out of town.”
At the end of every aisle in the store is a yellow note pad. Customers are encouraged to write down something that they’d like to see the Slagle Mall carry. Haymon noted that they are constantly expanding what they sell at the Slagle Mall, and want to be able to meet customers’ needs.
Running the store was always a dream of Haymon’s. Haymon’s first real job was working at the store when it was owned by his uncle Huell Haymon and known as The Slagle Grocery. As Haymon worked at the store, he got to see how it brought out the whole community. He knew that one day he wanted to own the store himself.
Haymon would graduate from Simpson High School, then move on to McNeese State University where he majored in Business Management. He would work in financial services in St. Louis, Missouri and Lufkin, Texas.
During that time Haymon was not in a position to buy the store when his uncle was ready to sell. Haymon’s opportunity would come later in 2010 when the Slagle Grocery burned down. Haymon purchased it, rebuilt it, and the Slagle Mall was born.
A step inside the Slagle Mall will reveal the Sawmill Cafe, a place where the community can sit down and have a freshly cooked meal. Haymon expressed pride in the overall quality of their food and talked about some of the local favorites.
“We have something for everybody. Some of our popular plate lunches are Beef Tips, Chicken and Dumplings, BBQ, fried fish, fried shrimp, lasagna, and meatloaf,” Haymon said. “We have hand pattied burgers, chicken tenders, and a grilled chicken salad too. I want people to know that we focus on the quality of our food the best we can.”
Haymon especially expressed pride in their fried chicken, which according to him is some of the best around.
Haymon said: “I’ll put our fried chicken up against anyone’s. I’m not trying to put down other chicken places, but ours is great. Our fried chicken tastes like something your grandmother made, and you’re not going to find any like it anywhere else.”
As for hardware, Haymon stated that their busiest time of the year is deer hunting season. Many people have camps and stay for the weekends during the season.
“A lot of people from South Louisiana are coming up to their camps and they live here on the weekends. They come up here with things they need to fix. I’ve been surprised with what we’ve been able to help out with.”
While they are able to help out with a lot of different things, Haymon stated that he is actively working to expand the hardware component of the Slagle Mall. “The goal here is to grow what we have into a true hardware store,” Haymon said.
Another goal of Haymon’s is to make sure that people can get the groceries they need without having to drive miles away from their homes to get them.
Haymon said: “With groceries, we know that we aren’t going to have everything that the big box stores carry, but we want to carry the staples. If you need a loaf of bread, or some milk, we’ve got it. If you’re cooking a gumbo and are short by one ingredient we can help you out. “
Supplying people with what they need is part of Haymon’s goal to use the Slagle Mall to help grow and enrich the Slagle community. “This is the community I grew up in,” he said. “I want them to have everything that they want and more.”
Haymon expressed his gratitude to his employees, customers, and everyone who helped make the store what it is today. He sent out a special shout out to radio personality Tommy Cooley who is a good friend of his who mentions the Slagle Mall when he is on the air.
“It’s the individuals in our community that truly make our place special,” Haymon said.
For more information on the Slagle Mall follow them on their official Facebook Page.