Generation X: a generation of diploma-holders opens stalls
For the last few months, restaurants and small ethnic eateries and groceries have been growing like weeds inFrench cities. The owners and managers of these micro-businesses are more or less the same age, have the same look, the same state of mind, the same background, even the same prestigious diplomas – over 20% of 30-39 year-olds have a university degree and over 37% have a post-secondary school diploma compared to 11.7% on average for the population (INSEE Observatory of Inequalities, June 2009). They could be your friends. Moreover, these owners and managers readily sit at your table to take your order. They recount the most recent adventures of their children to whom they’ve given the latest wood toy made in the region by that dear “Mr. Gepetto”*. These new storekeepers want to find a way to earn their living, more or less modestly, with concrete and creative activities that put them back into the heart of the city and life. Are they vectors of an emerging life-style? Are they putting new ideologies into practice? Are they idealizing the micro-enterprise that is emblematic of a world on the micro-social scale?
A few examples of the new breed of groceries: Pilmico, Le Village, L’échoppée Locale. *In 2010, 56% of small businesspeople were former executives and managers according to the permanent assembly of the French Chambers of Trades and Small Businesses.