Through Guillaume Laurens
What a long way since its ancestor, MidiCa sucre! Largest independent store in the Pink City, Midica defies time. Established on 5,000 m2 and five levels of the Place Esquirol, the brand of decoration and development of the house made in Toulouse has, after Les Galeries Lafayette and Primark, the third sales area in the city center. The store, one of the oldest in Toulouse, is now the cornerstone of the Gefiroga group, which operates eleven other stores Intersport and Blackstore, as well as a restaurant. And the adventure, which has lasted for three-quarters of a century, seems to have a bright future ahead of it …
Leave Esquirol? “In 75 years, this has more than crossed our minds! “
Despite the headwinds, and the constant headache of running an activity as cumbersome as the sale of furniture and decorative objects in the city center, Midica does not intend to leave the ship. And this, while a number of “flagship”, these flagship brands of world trade, have set sail, like recently Nespresso which abandoned the Capitol for Labège …
Leave his stronghold of Esquirol? “In 75 years of activity, this has more than crossed our minds”, admit Olivier Garrigou, Managing Director of the Gefiroga group. The grandson of the founder of Midica does not hide that over the decades, the Garrigou have asked themselves the question of the future of such an activity in the hypercentre: “Especially in the 1990s and 2000s, when my father was managing the group, and that many considered it a heresy for a brand like ours to stay in the city center ”.
“The question (of moving to the outskirts, editor’s note) arose, and our partners urged us to take the plunge, but we did not want to do so, because the inhabitants of the city center deserve to be served nearby “.
Midica and Esquirol, so it’s a story that lasts. And “it is not now that people are turning more to their local businesses that we are going to leave! »Warns Olivier Garrigou.
Prepare for the long works of the rue de Metz
While his group lost 15% of its turnover in 2020 because of the crisis and the confinements, the boss of Midica does not hide that the affair is not simple economically, even if his group has resumed the hair of the beast in 2021: “Commerce in the city center in Toulouse, it’s extremely difficult, ”he says. The brand endures repeated “demonstrations” and the “violence” that regularly punctuates them. And it also obviously suffers from the accessibility difficulties inherent in its establishment.
Olivier Garrigou, on the other hand, is not worried about the imminent entry into application of the Low Emission Zone, which will lead to traffic restrictions for the most polluting vehicles, starting with trucks: “We are now already compatible with the EPZ ”.
To put an end to the ballet of trucks that arrived at the store from the rue des Tourneurs, goods deliveries are in fact now pooled that they are the suppliers, thanks to the Urby service of La Poste. A logistics solution that has also made it possible to recover the brand’s waste for several years. Midica which had been “the first store in Toulouse to put no waste outside”, also ensures “to recycle all of its boxes, pallets and plastics”.
“It’s up to us to do everything to make them want” to come to the store
As she has been able to do for 75 years, Midica will still have to reinvent herself. Olivier Garrigou notes in passing that consumption habits have changed with the advent of digital, and the ease of online courses.
“Before, customers were obliged to come. Now they have to want to. It’s up to us to do everything to make them want to. It is with this in mind that we opened in 2019 the Gigiland restaurant, 4th floor of Midica “.
At the end of 2019, his group indeed inaugurated its first restaurant, equipped with a rooftop, and which offers breakfasts, meals and other brunches… “Home-made” preparations made from mainly organic and seasonal products.
Midica sells online and delivers downtown
Rather than leaving the city center, the brand is betting on online sales and some delivery. Since its renovation in 2019, Midica has its own merchant site, where a selection of products is offered, ie 3,500 references online, out of the 18,000 on the shelves. At the same time, she also took the fold of zero emission delivery : thanks to a partnership with La Poste, Midica delivers its downtown customers with fully electric vehicles.
To encourage its customers to come in soft mode, the store also offers a consignment : they can store helmets and other scooters there.
Refurbished in 2019
If new work was carried out during confinement, “the largest apartment in Toulouse” had already offered at the end of 2019 a real makeover. 4 million euros had then been invested to reimburse the interior design of the store, review the collections in terms of decoration, DIY, kitchen, or bedding, and “adapt a little more to the needs and lifestyles” of its customers, then confided Olivier Garrigou. To regain its cachet, the store had also taken care of make the beams and brick reappear on the first floor of the store, also releasing its large windows overlooking the Place Esquirol. Since we tell you that Esquirol and Midica are for life.
Midica, a family saga
It was in 1946 that Marcel Garrigou opened his first boutique, Place Esquirol, in the center of Toulouse, under the name MidiCa sucre. As its name suggests, the store then mainly commercialized… rubber articles. Ten years later, following the diversification of the offer in articles for the home and leisure, it changes its name and becomes Midica. The store quickly established itself in the homes of Toulousans, especially those who need a car … Always independent, the legendary Esquirol brand was completely redesigned in 2019. It is now managed by Olivier Garrigou, who has him – even succeeded his father Roland in 2017. Called Gefiroga, the group he manages with Richard Hernandez now has 12 stores: Midica, but also nine Intersport, two Blackstore, as well as the Gigiland restaurant. It employs around 370 people and has a turnover of € 60 million (2019 figure).
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