On the way to locavore grocery stores , we met Marie and Anne-Laure, the founders of Boc's . We tell you more about this great adventure in this article. Let's go !
Can you tell me about your grocery store in a few sentences?
“I created Boc's with Marie, with whom I have been friends for 15 years. We opened in October 2020, so it's still brand new. We wanted to create a complete eco-responsible grocery store, in which we find food and non-food products in bulk , or in returnable , reusable and recyclable containers .
Boc's is also a local business , where we want to recreate the link between producers, suppliers and customers. We strive to get to know our products and those who manufacture them as well as possible, in order to promote them as well as possible and introduce them to our customers. Finally, we want to put people back at the heart of commercial relations.
As a local and neighborhood business, it is essential for us to know our customers, their purchasing habits, their obstacles and to be able to respond and anticipate their requests and needs.”
What was the trigger that pushed you to set up Boc's?
“The story of Boc's starts from a fairly simple observation. Marie and I met and grew up in Nantes. Marie has lived in Boulogne for 8 years, and I stayed in Nantes. This city is rich in bulk shops , producer shops and certain habits such as deposit and compost are well anchored. So I have been shopping in bulk for a few years already, quite easily. By comparing our lifestyles with Marie, we noticed the lack of bulk supply, particularly in Paris and its region. For personal reasons, I wanted to come and live in Paris. And there you have it, the business was launched!
I'm already in the business. I have several years of experience in commerce. On the markets and in Specialized Department Stores first during my studies. Then, I was responsible for a producer store (where we only worked directly, more than 80% locally!) and assistant for a Biocoop store.
These experiences have heightened my passion for the local food trade on the one hand, and for the privileged relationship that we develop with our direct suppliers on the other. I love visiting the farms, factories and productions of our partners.
It was unthinkable for me to create a store whose products would not be organic or distributed in bulk since in my personal consumption, I have only consumed like that for years.
Marie mainly takes care of the administration, she has been self-employed for several years. So even without being present in the store, Boc's is also her, and she totally shares our values.”
Why organic? What are your commitments?
“ To consume French and local is, in my opinion, very important to create a circular economy and revitalize our territories . After being interested in these subjects for a long time, organic seemed essential to me. Or at least sustainable agriculture . A local vegetable grown with pesticides is not good for our health or for our planet.
Bulk and deposit , they seem to me to meet needs. This mode of consumption can no longer be confined to “convinced” or “activist” customers, when we see the impact of waste, particularly plastic, on our environment.”
Where do the fresh products you offer come from?
“For the moment, the only fresh products we offer are fruits and vegetables (no dairy for example yet, but we are currently working on it)
We work with 2 main suppliers:
- The IDF organic cooperative . The coop's vegetables are delivered to us twice a week by Vépluche , a company from Boulogne that is very involved in the circular economy. Indeed, in exchange for these deliveries, Vépluche collects the bio-waste (peelings, eggshells, coffee grounds, etc.) that our customers drop off daily, in order to compost it and turn it into organic soil!
- Gautier, a market gardener from Sarthe , also delivers his beautiful organic fruits and vegetables live to us several times a week! No intermediary between us, guaranteed extra fresh products, which have not known dozens of transports, give full satisfaction to our customers every day.”
For you, what is a good wine? And what is your favorite wine?
“For me, a good wine is a wine whose culture respects the environment without neglecting the taste ; I like round wines with fairly dense tannins. I'm not a great wine connoisseur, but I like the wines of Cahors, the Côtes-du-Rhône and above all, the Pic Saint Loup (I lived there, I'm a bit chauvinist….). In rosé and white, I'm more into dry wines, I don't like sweet wines at all!”
Why did you choose Oé organic wines?
“Because Solenne is a good salesperson (laughs). More seriously, I was convinced by the way of working hand in hand with the winegrowers , the guarantee of pesticide-free wines (when you know how much the vines are treated today…) and obviously the effort made on the choice of materials : glass, recyclable caps, the absence of the aluminum “cap” … And above all, the idea of returnable bottles finally convinced me to put the Oé bottles on our shelves.”
What is your long term vision?
“We want to expand the range at Boc's by offering fresh products and more wine and beer references ! In the long term, we would like to develop other Boc's stores, and be involved in deposit development projects for the bulk sector (knowing that we are already involved in the Hub Vrac project which has just been launched by example)."
What is the thing you are both most proud of?
“For the moment already, we are quite proud to have been able to open a warm store with one of my best friends, without compromising our friendship. My brother is also there since he works with us as a salesman. I am very proud to lead this adventure with him. We are also proud to have only glass containers at the store. We were the first to install Bulk & co wood and glass silos , which are a recent innovation. We only have glass containers to present our products in store. And to see customers every day discovering the concept of bulk and coming to do their shopping with reusable glass jars makes me very happy, every little bit counts! ”
How do you help your customers to consume better and engage more and more?
“By answering their questions, their needs, their fears, their obstacles. We try to adapt our products to their expectations, and to facilitate access to bulk, without making it a restrictive process.”
What advice would you have liked to have had before you started?
“I already had a good idea of the job. I think I wish I had been told that completely disconnected days off and lunch breaks would be a distant memory (laughs)!”
If you want to know more about the deposit, we explain everything in this article !
The Oé team gives you an appointment at Anne-Laure and Marie in Paris in their beautiful Boc's grocery store 👏🏻 And if you are looking for the point of sale closest to you, the map is 👉🏼 here