Couple Finds Holdrege Perfect Location to Launch Dream Business
17 Aug 2023
For a man raised in Southern Louisiana and a woman of Mexican descent raised in California, Holdrege seemed like an unlikely place to live and start a business.
However, Willis Courville, Jr., and his fiancée Cynthia Alfaro have found Holdrege is the perfect place to launch their dream business, Ra Ca’s Food Service.
Ra Ca’s food truck features cuisine that mixes the best of Cajun and Mexican flavors. The most popular menu item is Crawfish Etouffee, which is crawfish sauteed in bell peppers, celery and green onions served over a bed of rice with a mushroom-based gravy. Another favorite is Mom’s Taco Bell Burrito Plate, which is burritos filled with specially seasoned ground beef, lettuce, cheese and sour cream served with rice and beans.
Landing in Holdrege
Courville and Alfaro and their family, which includes six children ranging from age 1 to tenth grade, ended up in Holdrege because of The Dale Residences (formerly the Hotel Dale). Courville’s friend, Damien, is the local manager leading the renovation project at The Dale. Courville is an experienced carpenter and roofer, so he moved to Holdrege to help Damien with that project.
After living in the community for a while, he and his family realized they loved Holdrege.
“It reminds me of the town my grandma is from,” Courville said. “It’s a lot slower. The people tend to be a lot nicer. People don’t have a mean demeanor. Where we come from people don’t talk to people they don’t know. Here, they do, and we like that.”
Courville described previous places the family has lived in as rowdy and dangerous where there are fights and more potential for their kids to get in trouble.
His children have connected with others well in Holdrege and have told him they want to stay.
“Everyone is prospering here,” he said.
So, he figured Holdrege would be the perfect place to launch his dream business.
Starting a Food Truck
Courville said he has been cooking since he was young. As one of six children whose parents often worked on evenings and weekends, he had no choice but to start cooking.
When he started living on his own, he would cook for his neighbors, and they were impressed with his cooking skills.
In Holdrege, Courville connected with business start-up resources offered by the Phelps County Development Corporation and the Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce. And, finally in June of 2023, he served the first food from Ra Ca’s food truck.
The entire family pitches in to help with the food truck, and he said business has been better than he expected. Ra Ca’s typically serves lunches on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Family Fare grocery store parking lot and every other Friday at Lost Way Brewery. The schedule changes at times if he’s asked to serve at an event. Upcoming events he will serve include Kool-Aid Days in Hastings Aug. 18-20, a music event in Kearney on Sept. 7, Bridal Isle’s expansion grand opening on Sept. 8, Apple Fest in Orleans on Oct. 7 and the Fall Festival at the Nebraska Prairie Museum on Oct. 14.
Courville is proud of his current hometown and proudly displays a purple and gold Holdrege flag in his food truck’s window wherever he serves from.
He looks forward to continuing to grow his food business with the motto of “another day of serving good food to great people.”
For more information on Ra Ca’s and to see where he will be serving, visit the business Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/authenticcajunfood
For information on PCDC’s business start-up programs, visit https://www.phelpscountyne.com/business-services/financial-assistance/?cat=Loan+Resources