It’s Wednesday today, so the boulangerie in Rue du Marché is closed and the one in the high street is open. If it were Monday, it would be the reverse. Short of merging, it’s hard to see how the two bakeries in Castillonnès could work more closely.
Their arrangement works well for them – and for the villagers. Each baker gets a day off safe in the knowledge that the locals won’t go without their daily bread. Or cakes.
You might imagine that they would fear for their continued clientele. Obliging your customers to go to your competitor is a move taken only by the bravest or most self-assured of companies.
My guess is that the bakers are confident of their own strengths. Each one excels at one aspect of the business.
The boulangerie in the high street – la Grand’ Rue – has been around the longest and makes the best bread in the village. Its viennoiseries, however, are clearly not where the baker’s passion lies. The boulangerie in the Rue du Marché (pictured), on the other hand, is the reverse.
“Embarrassment used to stop me going to one for bread and to the other for pastries. Then I tried hiding what I was doing”
Embarrassment used to stop me going to one for bread and to the other for pastries. Then I tried hiding what I was doing. I would buy bread in one and take it home, before setting out for pastries from the other.
I no longer worry. If the two shops can accept their strengths and weaknesses and work in harmony, I reckon they won’t mind that I shop in both. I guess they’d prefer that to my buying from neither.