Q: What happens when you have limited space but want to offer a multiple products and services to your customers?
A: You sit down and you conceptualize. You come up with the multi-purpose store environment.
This multi-purpose environment seems very common in Paris, especially with the popularity of concept stores. In fact, when visiting concept stores in Paris such as Merci and Maison Plisson, it was clear that retailers have completely metamorphosed the store environment. The majority of the sales floor at Merci is dedicated to the sale of clothing, accessories and home décor. However, the retailer uses the remaining space in their store to offer customers: a used book café, a cinema café and a canteen (see below):
Whereas Maison Plisson, considers itself a grocery retailer for everything that is French. Customers can do their groceries at the store, located on the Boulevard Beaumarchais, but they can also take a seat and eat at the restaurant that offers a fresh menu using seasonal produce and locally produced ingredients (see below):
There are many multi-purpose stores in Paris, but I was taken away by these two for the following reasons:
- Merci: after spending hours at the store, canteen and used book café I felt as if I understood what they stood for. It felt as if I was part of a small community of people that enjoyed simple yet good: food, clothing, home décor and literature. I remember leaving Merci (realizing that I was late for a rendez-vous) and feeling at ease, this feeling completely disappeared after walking a few block down…where I realized I was in noisy Paris.
- Maison Plisson: The organic concept has been adopted by Parisians for years, and Maison Plisson reinforces this by solely offering produce that is locally sourced. Showcasing the quality of the produce and the creativity of the chefs is the restaurant. You can sit down, order something lovely on the menu and if you want to, you can purchase the ingredients in the store. The french food industry is highly protected by the government and the people who opt for locally sourced organic products.
What are your favorite French multi-purpose (concept) stores?