Ruby Slippers Homes — Manufacturing New Dreams
by Terry Trahan, Jr.
The highly traveled road that leads to Ruby Slippers Homes on U.S. Highway 90 isn’t paved with yellow bricks, but Francis Rodrigue and his wife, Linda, don’t mind. For the past 10 years, they’ve helped their customers find their way home from that road.
“We were the only company selling manufactured homes in [Lafourche] Parish,” Francis says about Ruby Slippers, which opened in December 1999. “We knew we were on a major artery going back and forth from New Orleans to Houma.”
The business is no longer alone in the market, but the Rodrigues’ commitment to customer service has continued to attract shoppers seeking the perfect manufactured housing solution. They will handle the warranties, permits, insurance, financing and land purchases, too.
“We have one of the biggest selections in the tri-parish area,” Francis says. “We don’t sell trailers anymore. We sell homes.”
Ruby Slippers Homes
1608 Highway 90 East
Mon - Fri 9AM - 5PM
Sat 9AM - 3PM
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The Rodrigues didn’t click any heels together to start Ruby Slippers, but they did make their dream a reality. For 17 years, Francis had worked under his father-in-law at Statewide Trailer Sales in Houma, gaining experience in the industry. When the time was right, he and Linda located property on U.S. Highway 90 that would serve as a central location to the surrounding parishes. They opened the doors with two employees and five units in stock and haven’t looked back since.
“We’re in our own little world out here,” Linda says.
But that doesn’t keep customers from driving to Raceland to view the wide selection offered by 30 units on the lot. Ruby Slippers features manufactured homes from Sunshine, River Birch, Buccaneer and Fleetwood Homes, all manufacturers that have produced quality homes for over 25 years.
What separates Ruby Slippers’ manufactured homes from modular homes is the HUD-code standard. The federal code, regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, requires makers of manufactured homes to follow stringent guidelines in the construction of the homes. The HUD-code includes wind speeds in its specifications. Ruby Slippers only sells homes in Wind Zone 3, the strongest level that can sustain winds up to 110 mph.
“The quality of the homes is as comparable to site-built homes as you can get,” Francis says. “It’ll last you as long as you want to live in it.”
The Rodrigues understand that repairs and improvements need to be made once in a while. They opened a full-service parts department seven years ago at Ruby Slippers to take care of those needs. With the addition, the business has become a one-stop location for well-built homes and dependable service.
“We give them service after the sale and throughout the life of the home,” Francis says.
Manufactured homes have changed a lot in the 10 years since Ruby Slippers first opened its doors to new homeowners. The single-section and multi-section units now feature floated Sheetrock, crown molding, whirlpool baths, fireplaces, shingled roofs and energy-efficient windows and appliances, among other upgrades.
The Rodrigues say much of their success at Ruby Slippers stems from placing customer service at the top of their priorities list and maintaining a loyal staff. The stress-free work environment has a lot to do with why customers continue to look for the ruby slippers on U.S. Highway 90 to take them home.
“There’s no greater feeling than homeownership,” Francis says, glancing at pictures and testimonials of customers who found their way home. “It’s waking up every morning and being glad to come to work to provide people with a home.”