La Marchande and Le Dépanneur, these nurturing associations of Aveyron villages

In Viala-du-Tarn and Saint-Sever-du-Moustier, a meeting took place to promote this economic model.

What to do when the village grocery store closes and no one wants to take the risk of taking over the business? Like many municipalities, those of Saint-Sever-du-Moustier and Viala-du-Tarn have been confronted with this question.

In both cases, the response was the same: suggest that an association take over the management of a multi-service business in the interest of the village. The associative grocery stores of these two municipalities, La Marchande and Le Dépanneur, recently met to get to know each other better and share their knowledge and know-how, but also to cultivate the ambition to promote their economic and social model.

It is in particular thanks to the reading of articles by Free lunch reporting on their respective activities that they came up with the idea of ​​getting closer.

Associations active in social ties

In Viala-du-Tarn, the Le Dépanneur association was created in December 2019 by residents who already had solid experience of community life. This solution was imposed when it was necessary to surrender to the idea that the old bakery-grocery store was going to close due to the absence of a takeover, however desired by the couple who had managed it for more than thirty years and who were retiring. .

Born in a hurry, Le Dépanneur wanted from the start to build a coherent project combining local productions, basic necessities and social ties. Thus, it has created a village market and actively relays the cultural initiatives promoted by other associations.

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Le Dépanneur, self-managed and supportive grocery store in the face of the health crisis

In Saint-Sever-du-Moustier, the village has been without a grocery store for five years and since March 1, 2022, La Marchande has taken on the grocery business with the support of the town hall, which has made premises available to it. Its ambition is to also create a real third place (place promoting meetings, cultural activities and projects, Editor’s note) with in particular a bar there.

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La Marchande: a grocery store “and much more” opens in the village

Again, this project did not start from scratch. Most of the members of La Marchande already had collective experience to their credit through the New Troubadours cultural association, which has had a particularly strong influence in the town for thirty years. The action of the municipal councilor Nathalie Milhau who was elected in 2020, in particular to bring this project to fruition, was also decisive.

Pooling of energies

In both cases, one observation was obvious from the outset: the classic model of private initiative does not make it possible to obtain a salary at the level of the Smic for such a business established in municipalities away from the main roads.

The solution therefore involves the pooling of energies. In Saint-Sever-du-Moustier, one of the employees of the Nouveaux Troubadours devotes part of her time to La Marchande, which is one of her activities in the same way as the bar, the museum of raw art or the construction sites unusual.

The Dépanneur du Viala was not able to benefit from this type of support when it started. He then bet on the contribution of about thirty volunteers then, faced with the success of the grocery store, he was able to hire two employees (including one part-time) who team up with the volunteers.

For the two associations, there is a desire to give a large place to local productions, while selling various basic necessities. Thus, after two years of activity, these occupy the vast majority of the shelves of the Dépanneur with articles from 70 producers.

Recognize this specificity

In both municipalities, these associations provide an essential service to the population and contribute to social ties. They strive to have this specificity recognized as an integral part of rural development by players such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Parc des Grands Gausses and the municipalities.

In Viala, the town hall has bought premises which it is in the process of renovating. The Dépanneur is due to move in at the end of the summer and will then have a larger and more functional space than at present.

These projects are not special cases and flourish in the rural areas of many departments. Review “Village” is regularly echoed.

A certain vision of the territory

Some are under construction in Aveyron, this is the case in Ayssènes, a neighboring town of Viala-du-Tarn. By promoting local production and developing social ties to allow populations and public services to maintain themselves, the concerns of the two associations are as much economic, social as territorial.

. It is partly around such initiatives that the future of rural territories is at stake. In Viala-du-Tarn as in Saint-Sever-du-Moustier, associations are fully-fledged players in rural development.

How to Substitute a Trade

Is it possible to create your business in the form of an association. According to Thomas Lailler, a lawyer specializing in corporate law, involved in the Leader’s Blog. Many economic actors today use the association of the law of July 1, 1901.

It’s about a “agreement by which two or more people pool their knowledge or activity on a permanent basis for a purpose other than to share profits.”

What differentiates the association and the society? What can be the advantages of opting for the associative rather than a corporate form? The association cannot share profits, but can still make some. She can earn money, fit into the economic fabric. The profits made must be reinvested in equipment, used to pay salaries, employee fees and operating expenses.

The association can therefore trade, sell products, goods, services in the usual way… provided that the legal statutes specify it.

Source: the Leader’s Blog.

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