“The Sauramps bookstore must become a cultural place again”: David Lafarge, the new director, arrives with projects in his head

“The Sauramps bookstore must become a cultural place again”: David Lafarge, the new director, arrives with projects in his head
“The Sauramps bookstore must become a cultural place again”: David Lafarge, the new director, arrives with projects in his head

He succeeds Florence de Mornac at the head of the bookstore. Passionate about his job, he arrives very confident and plans to organize numerous events to relaunch the group’s activity.

You are the new director of Sauramps. How did that happen ?

At the start I really wasn’t destined or predestined to be a bookseller. After studying biology, I wanted to change direction and I was recruited by Mollat ​​(a large bookstore in Bordeaux, Editor’s note). Subsequently I worked for a company which installed a management tool and software specific to Sauramps. So I came there and spent quite a bit of time here providing support.

When Florence de Mornac left the management of Sauramps, Marie-Aurélie Buffet who is director of development at Sauramps, whom I know well because she is also a former employee of Mollat, asked me if I had any names to be proposed for the position of director. We talked a lot, until we said to each other: “And why not me ?”

It happened like this. I then followed the recruitment course and arrived on April 15…

You are arriving in a difficult financial context… Does this worry you?

The bookselling industry is not completely in dazzling and flourishing shape in general. These are professions with very small margins, very low profitability.

Afterwards on the specificity of Sauramps, there were indeed some difficulties. There was this buyout which was made after a judicial liquidation. So today we are obliged to be attentive to the way we manage this bookstore and to constantly reinvent our jobs and our way of doing it so that the economic model remains viable. Today, Sauramps has 65 employees across the entire group: at the Triangle, but also at Odysseum, at the Fabre Museum store and in Alès

We have had generally unfailing support from the shareholder since he bought it (François Fontès, Editor’s note). He is an architect, a man of culture, and it is close to his heart to have this place which is not just a business but which is also a place of cultural life.

And the objective is for it to become so or for it to become so again…

What are your plans to carry out this mission?

The first project is to redevelop the Triangle Comédie store. The image of Sauramps is clearly associated with this building which is astonishing in the city and where it is placed. I think that the people of Montpellier have made it their own, it has become a symbol, a totem.

We want to reclaim this place fully today. Especially since this space is vast, we have a little over 2,000 m2. For me, we have expanded everywhere but we are missing a place to accommodate authors or events that we could organize.

Since my arrival, we have thought a lot about how to free up space intended for these events but also make the customer journey more coherent, simpler and more visible. I really like the idea of ​​this labyrinth, but we have to rearrange the order of the shelves. We will put the literature back at the entrance, for example. We will also try to increase our references, knowing that today we have 160,000 books in stock. We would like to increase the diversity offered to readers. The rearrangement will therefore be done in July so that everything is finished for the start of the school year and especially for the start of the literary school year. We will thus be able to welcome the authors.

What are your strengths for success?

The duo we form with Marie-Aurélie Buffet is rich in our experience as former booksellers, we know the profession, we know the people in the profession, we know the ecosystem and what it represents.

We want to provide management that ensures economic sustainability, but we are also very sensitive to the content. We like to read, we like to receive authors.

We want to do everything we can to create new readers, it’s fundamental for us.

And how are you going to go about it?

There is no a miraculous recipe. The Culture Pass is a fantastic tool for young people to come home to us. But we want to transform the essay, so that they don’t just come once, so that they become real readers.

We have to be able to reach them: organize events, communicate on social networks, relaunch reading clubs for teenagers. The goal is that the youngest are not afraid to open the doors of the bookstore.

The Odysseum bookstore is set to take Zara’s place this summer. What about it?

Today at Odysseum, there is the pop-up store with mangas and comics. For the bookstore, work is planned. We may be behind what was announced. We take our time because we don’t want to rush, so as not to open a store that would not be correct or open a store that would endanger the group. We don’t want to financially destabilize the entire group by rushing.

But there will definitely be Sauramps at Odysseum: we can reach another clientele. Our goal is to bring culture to where people are and not wait for them to come to it.

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