During my summer holiday in France, we were invited to the launch party for a shop that had just enjoyed a refit. But this was not a minimalist Parisien boutique, but a local butcher’s in a village in rural Brittany.
There were several interesting things about this that I thought would be worth comparing with retail fit-outs back home in the UK.
The fact that there was a launch party at all was unusual for this type of business- it’s normally the sort of thing you associate with bars, restaurants, or designer clothes retailers. I was assured it was not normal for a butcher’s in France either.
Food shopping in France differs from the UK- the supermarkets are not all-powerful, certainly not in rural areas. In this village, in the heart of farming country, there are big retailers only 20 minutes away, but most locals prefer to buy quality meat here, some on a daily basis. Some of the animals farmed in his own fields, and while the cost is higher, so is the quality- a fact to which I can personally attest.
The proprietor enjoys a loyal customer base and it’s for this reason that he laid on free barbecue, drinks and nibbles on a Saturday lunchtime. It was quite an event, with even the local mayor turning up.
The shop was still busy during the party- it was business as usual. There was a minor panic when the butcher cut himself and had to nip down the road to the GP for some emergency stitches.