November 30, 2021

Breaking News Breaf

T’as Meilleur Temps, a cooperative supermarket that relies on mutual aid

You have better time is not a supermarket like the others: here, only those who have bought for 100 euros of shares and have therefore become full members of the cooperative that runs it.

They also give 3 hours of their time every four weeks to carry out typical missions such as product reception, shelving, labeling, general maintenance of the premises, checkout, etc. In exchange, they have access to the products of their choice, as much as possible from local producers, at reduced prices.

Take inspiration from the existing

“We haven’t invented anything, admits Philippe Lussagnet, one of the co-founders, member of theCréacoop association 25 at the initiative of the project. We were inspired by what was already done elsewhere, and in particular from La Louve in Paris where we did an internship before opening T’as Meilleur Temps. »La Louve is the first participatory food store to have been opened in France, in 2016. It is inspired by the Park Slope Food Coop, created in New York in 1973. Today it brings together nearly 5,000 active members.

“These models have proven their worth, and the people who created them are keen to share their best practices so that new cooperative stores based on this model emerge”, continues Philippe Lussagnet. About thirty participatory cooperative stores now exist in France, in cities such as Paris, Rouen, Rennes, Montpellier, Annecy, Toulon, etc.

T’as Meilleur Temps, the cooperative supermarket that relies on mutual aid

Each time, the principle is the same: a participation to become the owner and customer of the store – in general 100 euros – and the commitment to give of one’s time, which makes it possible to drastically reduce labor costs. Cooperators are also invited to participate in working committees (marketing, purchasing, management, etc.) and to give their opinion on everything relating to the management of the store.

Mutual aid and sharing

“When we wanted to open such a store in Besançon, we were surprised by people’s interest. Our first information meeting in March 2018 brought together around 100 people! », Remembers Philippe Lussagnet. Moreover, the first cooperative members did not wait for the store to open to get involved. On the opening day, 380 cooperative members were already members.

– You have better time

The other participatory cooperative stores have been able to listen. “Many gave us tips and we regularly discuss our best practices, assures the entrepreneur. At the moment, the company is changing its computer system. “This will notably help us to establish better organized schedules and avoid the personnel management problems that we could have. Here again, it is La Louve who accompanies us, explains Philippe Lussagnet. Strictly speaking, we do not form a network – there is no joint purchase, for example – but we have common values ​​which promote mutual aid. “

Complex financing

A welcome solidarity because when it came to finding funding to open the store, everything was not easy. “We had a lot of difficulty finding a funder,” says Louis Garnier, co-founder of the brand supported by the BGE network. Of course, we went around the banks, and many were unconvinced and demanded that we provide personal guarantees. “

Finally, T’as Meilleur Temps obtained a loan of 150,000 euros over 7 years from a bank – 50% guaranteed by France Active -, as well as two loans of 50,000 and 55,000 euros from France Active and La Nef to start. With a crowdfunding of 9,000 euros and the starting capital of the cooperative members, T’as Meilleur Temps manages to keep its head above water.

” We need 50,000 euros of monthly turnover to be at the breakeven point [avec une marge fixe de 21 % sur tous les produits, NDLR] and we are not far from it. Nevertheless, the Covid slowed us down a lot, ”continues Louis Garnier. The founders hope to quickly organize meetings and workshops to promote the store and unite new co-operators. Less than a year after opening, they numbered 520.