The “1000 cafés” scheme is revitalizing local commerce in Limousin

In Saint-Solve, in the north of Corrèze, Maïté and Cédric have been bringing the town’s inn back to life for several weeks thanks to the national “1000 cafés” scheme. The couple is accompanied and even employed by a group at the start of the adventure.

Arrived from Maine-et-Loire, Maïté and Cédric embarked on a new life in the Corrèze countryside. In their own way, they are revitalizing Saint-Solve, less than 500 inhabitants, by taking over the communal inn, which has been closed for three years.

The municipality wanted to relaunch the establishment and contacted the SOS group, a private structure for social entrepreneurship, which wishes to open 1,000 cafes throughout France. The young couple with a child was selected from around fifteen candidates by the group in partnership with the town hall. “We felt a professional fiber in Cédric and Maïté, with a smile, a desire for conviviality“says the mayor, Daniel Freygefond.

It’s not easy to open a restaurant in unknown territory with a health crisis still in progress. But with the “1000 coffees” operation, everything is made easier. The premises are made available by the town hall. Young restaurateurs are in fact guaranteed financial support and management assistance. “The managers have the status of non-salaried corporate officers. They are paid (equivalent basis of the minimum wage), interested in the results of the company and can be accommodated”, indicates the site.

“At least we don’t have to wonder if we’ll be able to afford it” Maite said. “We also have help with accounting”.

The specifications also provide for short circuit supplies, which is more complicated than expected for our Angevins. “We canvassed a few people but we have, for example, a market gardener who did not have a good harvest last year because of the weather.“, indicates Cédric while cutting onions for his dish of the day.

The Auberge de Saint-Solve also offers a few groceries, a bread depot, a meeting place and soon a relay-package : so many services that had disappeared. “It’s a nice place” said this resident. “With the price of gasoline rising, I come here more!” like workers from a nearby quarry who have made the restaurant their canteen.

A little further north, in Haute-Vienne, the town of Glanges has also been selected to develop a café restaurant closed since December 2020. The mayor praises the system: “It’s super comfortable to go through SOS. A guarantee of security. You can’t make up your mind to recruit the right managers. And it’s more serene for everyone to have this support upstream” explains Emilie Gillet.

It must be said that the municipality is investing 500,000 euros with several partners in the rehabilitation of the building which will house the restaurant on the ground floor and a third place upstairs. The opening is scheduled for spring 2023.

The “1000 cafés” operation started at the end of 2019 and around forty cafés have already opened in France. A thousand villages are currently candidates to relaunch a place of life and exchange in the communes.

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