Yann Bechtel is intent on playing his part in making our world more sustainable and is passionately driven to making it happen. Read about his shop “Chez L’épicier” located in Gland.
Yann had been working with the Coop for the past 20 years of his career, 15 of which as a manager. As time progressed, he started to realise that his values were no longer aligned with his professional activity. The change came about, in large part, thanks to his family.
As a father of three children, he and his wife strongly felt the responsibility of making a bigger effort to do their part in helping minimise the climate change. In his words “I want to be able to say to my children – I did something. I didn’t stand idly by”.
He describes that at some point he “understood” the climate change reality, not just intellectually but in his gut.
Step by step they changed the way they shopped, favouring Bio products and then buying en VRAC (essentially buying loose items packaged in a non-traditional way). Eventually, he was totally misaligned with big supermarket values and knew he had to make a change.
This led him to develop his own concept for a local supermarket, allowing him to once again realign his values with his professional skills. At Chez l’épicier, the organic grocery store, he unites local producers and farmers and provides those who want to live more sustainably with a place where they know all products are local and comply with their standards.
The biggest challenge on his path was to find a location. Thanks to Joanna Baird who coordinates the Prix de la Nouvelle Economie in Gland, he was one of several local artisans to be present in the pop up shops. This allowed him to get his concept together properly and launch a crowdfunding campaign.
The campaign showed the support he had, as well as the need and desire for a shop that allows for more environmental friendly shopping practices was something largely supported in the area. He raised CHF60’000 and that allowed him to consolidate his first months and get everything up and running.
Today “Chez l’épicier” is well implanted in the local community and contributes to it actively in turn as well. In 2022 he won the Prix de la Nouvelle Economie with the concept and shared part of the prize with Tithi’s shop as they had been collaborating closely from the start. Their shop is the foundation of the “Ateliers de Borgaud” that unites the local shop owners in their effort to attract more people to the area.
When you come into the shop you see on the one side Tithi’s products and on the other Yann’s products. You can come with your containers and take advantage of the local products sourced from the region. Their vision is to keep building up the community and to support each other.
There’s an ice-cream stand and a kids corner decorated with little hands, children of some of the crowd funding participants. Next time you’re in the area, stop by this little haven and have a coffee or go for a home made Indian lunch.
Furthermore, there are also a series of events hosted at “Chez l’épicier” like Fresk du Climat that hold meetings every second Saturday morning (in French) .
If you’ve missed Tithi’s story, make sure you read about it from our previous article.