In small towns, bars bring an extra soul, a place where different generations meet. Midi Libre invites you to discover some of them. Today, the puzzle in Saint-Geniès-de-Fontedit.
“Don’t break your head”. Quesaco? This is the name chosen by Alexis Leroy and Lucie Aubineau to baptize their bar. “We lived six months in New Caledonia and it’s a local expression”, specify the two café owners, aged 27 and 28. An expression which means, on Le Caillou, “Don’t worry”. “We wanted something simple”, emphasizes Alexis Leroy. And that’s how Le Grand Café, the only bar in Saint-Geniès-de-Fontedit, changed its name.
Alexis and Lucie are from Vendée. He has already worked for many years behind a counter, the percolator and the beer dispenser, he knows. While overseas in the South Pacific, the couple visit the SOS Villages website. There, on the platform to help revive businesses in villages in rural areas, launched by the 1 p.m. television news on TF1, Alexis and Lucie unearth their happiness: a village café to take over in Biterrois.
“We were mainly looking for the South”
“I was more of a city person, Nice attracted mesays Alexis. But we were mainly looking for the South. We wanted to work for us.” Forgotten the Baie des Anges, it will be the close suburb of Béziers. The couple packed their bags and landed, for a time, in Saint-Chinian.
“We spent two months at the campsite to prepare the project to take over the bar”, says Alexis. The paperwork completed, here are Alexis and Lucie taking possession of their establishment located on Place du Portail, in the center of Saint-Geniès-de-Fontedit.
The couple roll up their sleeves. The work is being carried out at full speed. “We injected €30,000. We had to redo the bar, the electricity, the plumbing, the scullery”details Alexis. “We put a new label to say that the bar had changed hands and bring our style”, adds Lucia. On July 19, “Casse pas la tête” opens its doors and a unicorn adorns the bar’s logo. “I like unicorns, it catches the eye”says Alexis with a smile. “But people were a little scared at first.” The past surprise, “We were well received even if it spoke a little behind our backs. We were judged”, confide Alexis and Lucie. The two cafe owners recognize it: “We didn’t know anyone. Now they play the game.”
The elders have resumed their habits there.
“Don’t Break Your Head” quickly found its place. The elders have resumed their habits there: coffee in the morning, aperitif at midday. Young people who did not frequent the bar are more and more numerous. And for good reason: Alexis and Lucie bring the establishment to life. “We organize concerts. All styles of music. During the summer, we set up a table football tournament”, emphasizes Alexis. On December 16, the establishment was in its 19th event since the recovery.
Alexis and Lucie are happy. “We want to provide entertainment without people having to go to Béziers or Montpellier.” And the concept works very well. The summer season has been tough. “We are open from 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week”details the couple who also offer a restaurant that attracts workers at noon. “In the summer we had a lot of English and Irish who have second homes in the area”notes Lucia. “There is a very good village spirit. The shops are dynamic and the local clientele is loyal”adds Alexis.
Owner of the business, the couple still rents the premises. “It’s not easy, banks don’t lend money so easily.” So, Alexis and Lucie give themselves four years. “Time to see if it works well. Afterwards, we’ll see”specifies the couple who adopted the New Caledonian expression: Don’t break your head.
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The puzzle of Alexis and Lucie seduced Saint-Geniès-de-Fontedit
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