They are keen to introduce their products to Nancy residents. 31 Lorraine farmers have teamed up to open a producers’ store in Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, with a strict rule: everything is produced within 70 km, and sold by the farmers themselves.
It took two years for the project to succeed. If no grain of sand blocks the cogs, the producer store ‘the beautiful countryside’ will open its doors on July 7, 2020 in the Vandoeuvre –les Nancy shopping area. A real satisfaction for the thirty producers of the Great East who will finally be able to discover their products, 90% of which are organic, and 100% are from Lorraine, to city dwellers.
Meeting the needs of city dwellers
For several years, these Lorraine farmers have been multiplying their points of sale to reach different audiences: farm drives, markets, AMAP (Association for the maintenance of peasant agriculture) and deposit in organic stores. But in the end, it is often the same audiences that return, the locals, the rural or semi – rural.
With my truck, or at the farm, it is the locals who come to buy my poultry or eggs.
City dwellers find it more difficult to access short circuits, even when farm products come to town as with the ‘beehive that says yes’ network. They often do not have time to tour the producers, then complete the races, or schedules that are too restrictive to be present at the delivery of the baskets.
However, the demand is there. It was clearly highlighted with the COVID-19 crisis, where the majority of producers doubled their sales. Yes, but now, back to work, the townspeople are deserting the markets and the farms.
I sold double my vegetable sales during containment, unfortunately I only kept 10% of new customers.
Same story with Eric Bogard, cheese maker in the Vosges.
We really believed that there was a lasting change in consumption patterns
To reach this urban clientele, it is necessary to adapt to their lifestyle, in other words to be open every day or almost, including between noon and two, Saturday and evening, in short, to be modeled on supermarket hours . This is precisely what the producer store ‘La belle campagne’ will offer. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. non-stop.
‘Product at home, eaten at home’
On 300 m2, fans of local products can find more than 1000 product references: meat, fish, cheese, pasta, flour, bread, fruit and vegetables, jams, herbal teas, and even some cosmetic products. More than 90% are labeled organic, and the rest in very reasoned agriculture. The partners were handpicked for the quality of their products, their proximity, less than 70 km, and their investment in the project.
Because in this store, no sellers, no employees, only producers who will come to fill the shelves themselves, talk about their products, advise customers and keep the checkout.
Everyone must come to work at the store at least one day per month, plus other days which are calculated on the turnover. I will be present 1.5 days per month on site.
All are very motivated by this common project, even if it required additional financial efforts (550,000 euros for the fitting out of the premises), and in terms of time.
I look forward to being in contact with customers, I need to have feedback on the quality of my products.
When we put our products in a store, we do not know if they will be well presented. However, we are proud of what we produce and we want to highlight them.
“I’m sure it will work. “, says Yannick Ladonnet, dairy producer in the Vosges and who is behind the project. “The demand for local products is very real ! In France, no producer store has closed, even when they are in small villages“.
The proof is, a dozen future customers have pointed the tip of their nose in less than an hour on the site, while the store has not yet opened. Some are ready to abandon their shopping in traditional supermarkets if the products are good and especially if they are not overpriced, as Christine tells us. Dominique, for her part, can no longer imagine not encouraging the local economy.
I will undoubtedly be a faithful, because it will allow me to eat local, organic without blocking me on market days.
A good omen in any case for the thirty producers, who embarked on a big challenge: reaching at least 150 customers a day to survive.
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