Small business, big heart

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Gerard LaBorde and his mother, Jamie Harris, are the owners of Cloudz Dream Boutique in Bossier City. They created a ‘buy one, give one’ program more than a year ago that donates a free bed to a family in need in the community.

Bossier City mattress boutique donates beds to needy families

Cloudz Dream Boutique is a small business with a big heart.

The family-owned and -operated mattress store in Bossier City created a ‘buy one, give one’ program more than a year ago to make sure local families in need are getting a good night’s sleep. Gerard LaBorde, who runs the store with his mother, Jamie Harris, said the idea of their program is based similarly to the concept of Toms shoes – for every queen or king sized bed they sell, Cloudz donates a twin bed to a family in need.

“From day one, I wanted us to help because we love God and we love people,” LaBorde said.

LaBorde said they didn’t tell customers about their plans to donate a bed once a purchase was made. Instead, they chose to keep quiet and let the donations do the work.

“Rather than giving money, we knew needs would be met immediately this way,” LaBorde said. “The more people buy, the more people we can help.”

Once a plan was in place, they began searching for an organization to help them get their beds into the community. That’s when LaBorde found St. Jude Catholic Church’s council of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic organization that supports those in need with financial assistance or with the donation of household goods.

“That was all it took. By the grace of God, it happened,” he said. “We were excited and blessed to find someone who did exactly what we wanted and it all happened at the right time.”

Allen Sherwin, a member of St. Vincent de Paul, said their efforts are focused on helping families in north Bossier who are struggling to get ahead of financial difficulties.

“A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck,” Sherwin said. “All it takes is one flat tire or a sick child to put a family behind even more.”

Sherwin said they do not judge families on their lifestyle or home. They are simply there to help.

Barbara McKenzie, a member of St. Vincent de Paul, said she recently visited a home with a single mother and child who are in need of a bed. It was an eye opening moment, Mackenzie said, and one that touched her heart.

“We don’t want someone sleeping on the floor. They need something to put their head on at night,” McKenzie said. “Most people don’t think something like that is a problem here, but it is. There really are families who don’t have beds.”

That’s when Cloudz steps in. Members of St. Vincent de Paul know the needs of the community, relay it back to Cloudz and they provide the families with a new bed.

McKenzie said something as simple as a bed can do wonders for a family.

“To see their faces is incredible,” she said. “There’s a lot of need out there and [Cloudz] is doing their part to make life a little easier for more families in the community.”

LaBorde said their ‘buy one, give one’ program is not a promotional tool. Instead, it’s a devotional to spread the love and word of God.

“This is not a marketing tool or something we use to bait customers,” LaBorde said. “We have people here that need help. If people stopped buying beds from us and I went into business selling cookbooks, I would still be willing to take proceeds from that to keep buying beds for people. We are truly blessed with the ability to ask God for help and not be focused on our own problems.”

Sherwin said St. Vincent de Paul does not place a limit on who they help. Whether it’s a single parent family or an elderly resident, they want it known that there is someone out there who can help.

It’s unclear as to how many families have been impacted by Cloudz Dream Boutique, but they have put it all in God’s hands. LaBorde said there are still many more families in the community that are in need of a bed and he is more than ready to meet those needs.

“Knowing a child is taken care of takes stress off of the parents,” LaBorde said. “We don’t want to see anyone go without a bed.”

Cloudz Dream Boutique is located at 1115 Benton Road (corner of Shed Rd. and Benton) in Bossier City. For information on business hours, call (318) 759-7378.