Have space - need idea

Well, the town of Jarnac has approved our rezoning request to turn the retail space into an apartment. For holiday lets. But before we go down the "path of least resistance" we want to see if anyone out there has an idea or advise worth pursuing.

For where we are, in a town of approx 5000 people with strong seasonal tourist trade, this is a prime retail space in the pedestrian street. We tried to rent out the space, but had no real bites in the last 8 month. Of course the Realtor thinks we should lower our asking price. Not going to happen. 90m2 with full height basement for 600.00/month seems reasonable to me.

So we tossed around a few ideas such as a Brocante shop or a better than average coffee shop, but made no efforts really. What else could work in small town France? Have any of you actually opened a retail style business, or do most of you focus on home based type enterprises to keep the overhead as low as possible?

Looking forward to some input and if you want to be part of the idea, we are open to suggestions.

I like this idea. A shop of shops. Plenty of people who might like to have a shop but can't afford the rent. So this could become a shared enterprise.

Alas I am way too far away from you guys. But I wish you the very best of luck with your venture.

Thank you Veronique.

if that is the idea we pursue, I 'll be in touch

I like it. A lot.

You'd be perfect for running the show.

Happy to help wherever I can. Background is in the ideas industry - guess that shows ;0)

What can I do for you?

Will you help us Georgina? We need your energy.

I like the Depot idea a lot. The Brit thing may be too much a curve for us, i am Austrian....

Whatever you decide - offer free wifi when someone buys a coffee. (access code changes daily)

Why focus on one thing when many could attract lots of different people to keep popping back in?

Somewhere for breakfast. Sell bacon sandwiches if you have a local English community.

A niche cosy restaurant by night with only a few tables - and Jazz once a month!

A second hand shop

A swap shop

'make your own chocolates' nights

A coffee shop that also has the walls lined with books for a book exchange (bring one, take one)

Wine tasting between 5-7 to catch the after work bunch to sample wines from around the world - as well as local ones

A champagne and whisky only house

A healthy eating place (platters of stuff buffet style)

A decent steak house

Culture evenings where locals can come and give a talk about something they're expert about

I love Jarnac! Not too far from you but maybe far enough in Chalais is the Green Parrot..


worth a look to see what they're doing - they rent space to local artisans etc...

You could always open an english shop! there is one near us and its doing a roaring trade with expats and locals alike. It sells all the things that us brits miss and cannot get easliy in France.

Yorkshire tea, Cheddar Cheese, back bacon, pork pies etc..... They also offer a translation service that is authorised with the authorities, so if you need a birth cerfiticate or marriage certificate translating, they do it for a small fee and have an official stamp for the paperwork. Also you can ask to be a small depot for couriers and you get paid by couriers or post office to hold parcels for locals. It saves the couriers going to individual houses and all can come and collect from you. easy peasy!

It was a lengthy process Theo, to get permission to change that glass front. We had to submit a new concept to Architectes des bâtiments de France which is well known to be tough on things. But we prevailed. So yes, that's part of the overall plan.

There is shoe repair place here intown and very unfortunately they just announced their closing.

First, I would get rid of this glass-facade, - sell all via "Leboncion", and build something that matches the house to add real value to the property (you may even be entitled to receive support) Anyway, this Glass looks like this pseudo-modern "French-'70-years-Barrock. If you don't enjoy too much work just change the entrance and rent the place to a dentist or similar quite pro. Its complettly a different story if you love work and want to generate revenues: you have to search for good English products, wood stoves and what you can not get here in France but is usefull, - or products from the category of renewable energy: it may take a few years to generate stable profits because France, spoiled by cheap nuclear power, is years behind the development in this field. On long term something like LED lamps, solar, wind, charger back-up etc. are good products to sell and don't make too much work. People don't care much about things like "salon d' thé", at least not in the in the countryside... Bon courage

For obvious reasons (www.gfpatisserie.com), a GF bakery/Cafe with annex was our leading contender. Once we looked into THAT license......tough one. But yes, create a venue for people to meet would be ideal for that space.

Whatever you do, can you hive part of it off as a meeting room / mini exhibition centre? Because then the members of the bridge club, camera club etc will all be popping in and out and will buy the jam, cards, baskets? And use the internet whilst drinking a coffee and eating a slice of home made cake....

I have always wanted to do that. A sort of mini arts / crafts centre with attitude!

All the rage in the UK …Jamie Oliver has one on Brighton pier …pop up restraunt just open it up for the tourist season…lick of paint… simple easy to meals then come September …close …

If it ever takes your fancy let me know, i can give you all the info you need regarding malting, brewing and set up.

Good lick with the venture, hope you find something profitable!

There are two in town already, one for kids, one for adults, that mixes in new products as well.