"They're still here until June 21st and it's going to be another 10 days? It's not possible! ».

"They" is Le goût des plantes, a garden centre that sells to individuals and at bargain prices: aromatics, cacti and other plants. As for the one who expresses his anger, it is a florist from le Marais who is outraged by this competition which he considers unfair.

If the company has been antagonizing the artisan florists of the Marais, it is because it has been selling plants from 2 € since February, on the occasion of ephemeral and regular sales.

« You understand, they were there in February and it lasted 3 days. And then they came back in May, hardly the deconfinement started this time it was for 12 days, whereas we hadn't worked for 2 months. And now they're back for 10 days! ».

« I felt sorry for my colleague Moor when, for 12 days in May, Le goût des plantes customers queued up in front of his shop at 80 rue du Turenne, glued to his plants to go to a "seller" », explains Philippe Olivier.

As a result, the florist working at 42 rue de Turenne brought together 18 colleagues, local shopkeepers, residents and customers, all of whom were shocked by the regular arrival of ephemeral shops trampling on their flowerbeds.

Already at Christmas, two pop up stores of MR Agency, a rental company of exceptional places, had welcomed two big sales of Christmas trees, one in front of Philippe Olivier's shop, the other next to Moor.

« It was pretty crazy to see them set up shop just a few steps away from our respective shops, selling fir trees. Afterwards, they ended up giving them away ».

« As consumers, we have to make the right choices, because we have to support retailers who take risks, who have social security charges, who have high rents, who go to great lengths to open every day, whether it rains, sells or snows. Sometimes to sell little. » adds Laurent, a maraisien who has taken the lead in the florists' sling.

Julien, one of the creators of Le goût des plantes, replied: « I don't know why they took a dislike to us, because our 25-35 year old customers can't always afford to go to florists ».

« I don't see what we're being accused of, I've partnered with a family man like me. We pay taxes, our 4-day rent is equivalent to a month's rent. I'm not a florist, I do green plants. They will prohibit Ikea to market plants? ».

He continues: « Our competition is legal and encouraged in a country like ours ».

« Instead of preventing me from working, they should be questioning their business model ».

However, the creator of Le goût des plantes wants to calm the debate: "I'm ready to meet them. In fact, in the provinces, we have already invited florists to display their products in our pop-up stores.

Laurent, who circulated a petition in le Marais and the 11th arrondissement, before handing it over to Pierre Aidenbaum, the mayor of the 3rd arrondissement, resumes: « We are not against ephemeral shops when they allow small designers to test a market before launching a physical store. But the regular arrival of this kind of unethical business parasitizes our local shops, steals their clientele. It's terrible! Especially after a year of yellow vests, December strikes and, finally, confinement ».

Text : Katia Barillot
Pictures : ©Anaïs Costet

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