Business News

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

by Patrick Flanagan

Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.

Photo by Robin May

Brother Abdalla and daughter Alicia Mouton

For more than three decades Brother's on the Boulevard has been a standby in Lafayette's retail market, outlasting boutique after boutique with a brick and mortar store and what seems a very traditional model of business aimed at bringing local customers to the store again and again from mothers and fathers to sons and daughters to even grandmothers (and now even their children with Little Brother's children's pieces).

But change is coming. As commerce thrives online and Brother Abdalla himself brings his daughter, Alicia Mouton, into the fold, the store is diversifying its market position, evidenced by a new web store launched just weeks ago. Check it out at

Mouton says it's simply the next logical step in keeping Brother's in line with the future of commerce.

"To remain competitive in retail, especially in the highly saturated retail market of today, you must constantly change. Today, if you want it, you can find it online and we want a piece of that action," Mouton says.

The goal of the online store is both local and national recognition, Mouton says. The online store will have much of what's available in-store, and items are added daily. The web store has the option for free local delivery or in-store pick up and orders more than $99 mean free shipping. Abdalla and Mouton hope the web store will bring back customers (like those who may have moved away) as well as garner new ones. The goal is becoming more mobile, which is what Mouton says is the future of business.

"Brother says you can't go anywhere without seeing all of the young people with their heads in their phone - and they are our future customers," Mouton says.

Just as a designer maintains a sort of DNA that is expressed each season in a new way, so Abdalla seems to describe the move to e-commerce. The more things change, the more they stay the same. It's clear while he pursues new methods of commerce, there is no intention to change the way of Brother's at its foundation.

"Balancing the traditional customer and the move to e-commerce will be an ever-changing and welcoming challenge," says Abdalla. "We have no plans of changing the way we do business in our brick and mortar store - personalized customer service, friendly faces, and a unique shopping experience is what has built our family business. We just now plan to take what makes customers love their shopping experience in store and give that to them on an e-commerce level."

Same Brother's, just a newer face, a new arm in a business that continues to do whatever it takes to maintain its competitive edge.

"We try and change constantly to keep up with the times and stay in business," Abdalla says. "It is not easy being in retail. But being open to new ideas, putting customers first, finding new brands, building solid teams, and strong family bonds are just a few of the reasons we continue to thrive."