In debt and forced to close, this baker receives unexpected help: “They saved us”

In debt and forced to close, this baker receives unexpected help: “They saved us”
In debt and forced to close, this baker receives unexpected help: “They saved us”

David Pichot has found his smile again. The 50-year-old baker has ” Finally “ was able to reopen his seven shops in southern Alsace, which he had been forced to close at the beginning of June 2024. EDF had suddenly cut off his power due to an unpaid bill of €94,000. An exorbitant amount that the craftsman could not pay. “Before the explosion in electricity prices, we were around €20,000 per yearhe tells us. There we found ourselves with a €70,000 increase in just one year! It’s impossible to manage.”

Without power, the fifty-year-old had no choice. He was forced to stop the production of bread and pastries which is done on the main site in Blotzheim (Haut-Rhin). He had to close all his bakeries, leaving his 25 employees without work. “A real heartbreaker.” Before finding itself in such a situation, the team had nevertheless adapted to save money. “We reduced opening hours and decided to close on Sundays.list the boss. We also increased our prices a little, changed our light bulbs, installed LEDs everywhere… »

Two weeks of closure

But all these efforts were not enough. In order to find a solution, David Pichot met a senator from Haut-Rhin who helped him to stagger his debt with EDF. The company agreed to restore his electricity if he initially paid them €30,000. He then launched an online kitty in the hope of resuming his activity quickly. “Because paying such a sum without running your shops is impossible… In total, we were closed for 13 days and lost €70,000 in turnover. »he breathes.

During these two weeks of closure, the baker has not stopped worrying. It is difficult to find sleep when the future of his business is at stake. “It was very hard mentally. I had butterflies in my stomach every day.he admits. I didn’t know what to do to save my shops and my employees. Some of them have been working with me for 14 years!” Thanks to his personal funds, donations from friends and companies, he managed to raise the first €30,000 requested by EDF. “But we still had to find 60,000…”

“A gift from heaven”

It was then that David Pichot, totally desperate, received a helping hand as unusual as it was unexpected. Touched by his story revealed by France Blue Alsace the Grand Casino in Basel (Switzerland) has simply decided to pay off its debts. “They contacted me following the press articles. They sent me several emails but as we had no power, I was unable to read them.”says the father. A representative from the casino therefore went directly to his shop in Blotzheim at the end of June.

And he gave him a check for €90,000. “It’s a gift from heaven. I still can’t believe it, it’s just incredible. I didn’t expect it at all.” According to the fifty-year-old, the owners of the gaming establishment wanted to help him in particular because they have a craftsman in their entourage. “They couldn’t stand to see a bakery forced to close because of electricity prices. They saved us, literally.” In return, plaques bearing the casino’s image were installed in its seven stores.

“Very, very relieved”

Thanks to this unexpected help, the boss and his 25 employees were able to return to work in good spirits. All the shops have reopened to the great delight of customers. “They were delighted to see us again”rejoices David Pichot, who does not hide the fact that “very very relieved”He tells us that he has encountered major difficulties since the Covid-19 crisis. “It was a difficult time for all traders. We lost €600,000 in turnover in two years.”

Today, he is especially happy to be able to continue practicing this profession that he is passionate about. “I’ve been self-employed for 20 years, fighting for my business. I’m here at 4 a.m., almost every day.he slips. I’ve only had five days of vacation in ten years, it’s a lot of responsibility and sacrifice but it’s my whole life.” Another piece of good news: after negotiation, his bill will come to around €26,000 next year, “a much more reasonable price”.

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