Retail Column by Heidemarie Kriz, Point of Sale Doctor and Retail Architect (KRIZH, POSitive Affairs, POS Doctor)
Nostalgic things create wonderful moments
The two Frenchmen, Antoine Bourrassin and Nicolas Barbero opened this store on Rue du Pont-Vieux in Nice over five years ago. The façade, the entrance, and the interior give the impression that it has always been here, so authentically does this store blend in with its surroundings. Almost forgotten products enhance the vintage charm and attract both locals and tourists from France and around the world. They all indulge in nostalgia with poupons, Opinel knives with clasps, Moulinex mill burrs, Cleopatra glue jars, Madeleine molds, Pierrot Gourmand lollipops, plastic card pens from France, wooden spinning tops, Duralex pots from the canteen, and much more.
Making small local craft businesses shine with their expertise
They are given a stage here to ensure that old, historic French companies and their USPs are not forgotten. The idea came to the owners during a trip when they contacted around 200 companies. The store’s founders see this as a form of economic patriotism that creates and maintains many jobs. In addition to the traditional products, the range has been expanded over the years with the company’s own product ideas, including its spectacle cases, passport cases, and card cases made from the hides of the Degermann tannery in Alsace. This tannery was founded in 1932 and is located near Strasbourg; Chanel has held a stake in Degermann since 2019. The typical slippers from France, the Charentaises, which were developed in the Charente in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, are also made for the store using Shetland wool instead of sheep’s wool to create an even more comfortable experience – another way of adapting a traditional shoe with a felt sole from the 17th century and transferring it into the 21st century.
Not keeping up with fashion trends
Strictly speaking, the store could be described as a cabinet of curiosities. All 500 products on display in this 100 sq m store have been put together with a high potential for nostalgia, with the common denominator of being produced in France. The French city from which each of these products originates is shown on a map attached to the product. The two owners are happy to tell stories about the production and use of the unique features. All the products represent things that outlast short-lived fashions, for which you feel affection, that you even remember from childhood. In many ways, the entire store represents a journey back to one’s childhood – a journey also supported olfactorily by the scent of rose water and soaps made by perfumers in Grasse.
My tip: Craft businesses have a kind of know-how that will one day be lost if it is not passed on. Of course, it’s a question of price: handmade objects are expensive, but they also last much longer. Regarding sustainability and resource conservation, however, it would be worth considering supporting guilds such as tailors and shoemakers and repair workshops again to ensure that they do not disappear from our cityscapes. The future is not just Silicon Valley and AI; it is hybrid – analog and digital!
11 rue du Pont Vieux
About Heidemarie Kriz
In this monthly retail column, retail architect Heidemarie Kriz shares with us her Retail Shop Tip and lets us know her thoughts and expertise regarding her experiences visiting some of the latest and most innovative shops. Heidemarie Kriz has been an architect and shop designer for more than 25 years. For decades, she has held senior positions with major brands across Europe, but she has also worked as a freelance concept designer, an architect, and a consultant specialising in shops, furniture design, customer and purchasing behavior, and visual merchandising. Kriz and her team of experts specialise in retail concepts, analysis, and holistic advice in the retail sector. In addition, she also writes retail-specific topics in the editorial team of ACROSS Magazine.