Boutique Praline: a 70-year-old gourmet heritage in Béziers

Boutique Praline: a 70-year-old gourmet heritage in Béziers

Dominique Dumont-Gauthier welcomes gourmands of all ages to his historic confectionery. Midi Libre – A.F.

In the heart of the city center, the Praline boutique, run by Dominique Dumont-Gauthier, continues to charm gourmets with its candies and chocolates. For almost seventy years, this confectionery has become more than a business. It is a part of Béziers heritage.

The Praline confectionery opened its doors around the Théâtre de Béziers on April 9, 1955, the wedding day of its creators, the Porcel couple. Today, it is Dominique Dumont-Gauthier, a former executive in the pharmaceutical industry and the real estate sector, who has taken over the reins for fourteen years. He explains: "I’had always wanted to start a business, but real estate always evolves very quickly, and each time I wanted to create my agency, a new regulation postponed my project. Shortly after the subprime crisis, I had this opportunity to take over the confectionery business and I went for it!"
In 2010, when he took over Praline, Dominique Dumont-Gauthier transformed the store. He brings a touch of modernity and brings it up to standard, while preserving its authenticity and magic. "I’for example kept all the confectionery bins from yesteryear. My idea was that when today's parents pass by the store, they recall the memories of when they came with their parents or grandparents, smiled the shopkeeper.

The challenges of a changing sector

For 14 years, the store has had to adapt, firstly to competition from online sales and the availability of candy in supermarkets. The selection of confectionery is made instinctively, with a constant concern for renewal. New 100% French products like the Pompon de Brest stamped in the colors of Béziers rub shoulders with classics like caramel-chocolate mice and peas with bacon and the essential Dragibus or Tagada.
The store has not been spared either by national crises and more local developments: creation of the Polygon, threats of attacks, yellow vest movement, Covid-19 pandemic, decline in power purchase and development work on the paths. "In a business, we are there to manage imponderables that we cannot control. But this management is crucial to maintain the course", emphasizes Dominique Dumont-Gauthier. "We are lucky to have a mayor and an association of merchants who listen to us and support us. For example, during the work on the paths, I lost 60% of my turnover over six months. Compensation from the town hall helped to somewhat offset this loss."

Towards a new adventure for Praline ?

With its twenty square meters and nearly five hundred varieties of candy, the Praline confectionery sells between three and four tons of candy per year. But beyond the numbers, it is a place of sharing and happiness. Its manager sees it as more than a business: "It’is a store where people come to seek comfort and joy."&nbsp ;Two years from
retirement, Dominique Dumont-Gauthier hopes that his confectionery will find a buyer who will be able to perpetuate this gourmet tradition, but also make it evolve. "The strength of Praline is its history. It has existed for almost seventy years. When we want to undertake a business, I think it is essential to start by taking over and perpetuating existing businesses and historic brands, to continue to bring life to our city center."

Key figures and dates

Created by the Porcel couple on April 9, 1955. 
Covered by Dominique Dumont-Gauthier on March 10, 2010. 
20 m² of boutique. 
500 varieties of candies available.
3.5 tonnes of confectionery sold per year. 
Boutique Praline: around the Théâtre, at Béziers. Contact 06 11 55 39 59.

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