“It’s a profession on the verge of extinction”: Myriam, a druggist for 44 years at Place Laissac, will fold up shop in Montpellier in June

“It’s a profession on the verge of extinction”: Myriam, a druggist for 44 years at Place Laissac, will fold up shop in Montpellier in June

Myriam Genin, droguiste passionnée, prend sa retraite après 44 ans sur la place Laissac. Midi Libre – JEAN-MICHEL MART

After more than 80 years of activity, the Décor et Savoir Faire drugstore on Place Laissac will close its doors on June 30. Its manager, Myriam Genin, has welcomed her customers with a smile since 1980. She is retiring with the satisfaction of a duty accomplished. Encounter.

This is a whole page in the history of commerce in Montpellier which turns with the closure of Décor & Expertise. Myriam Genin tells: "That’was the last'real' town drugstore." Even if she "could do this job for years to come", the shopkeeper wants to take advantage of ;rsquo;a well-deserved retirement ". Daughter and granddaughter of a trader, she remembers: “My mother Mireille started the trade at 14, then she bought this store in which she trained me. I have been selling home products for 44 years.

"I’I’very lucky"

Behind her counter, with a lively look and a smile on her lips, Myriam knows how to welcome her customers. The shopkeeper talks about her job with enthusiasm: being a druggist means bending over "on the problems of each person faced with a very specific situation: how to unfasten clothing ? How to renovate furniture ? Maintaining leather, precious metals ?&amp ;quot; The shopkeeper is passionate: "Not a single morning went by without me saying to myself that I’ rsquo;I'm very lucky". She defends her profession with fervor: "Anyone can open a department with drugstore items, but know-doing cannot be improvised. It is learned through contact with chemists, suppliers, customers and veterans of the profession."

The women's drugstore

She still enjoys it: "It’was the only drugstore in Montpellier run by women". The store was also called “the women's drugstore”, while the other establishments in the city were managed either by a couple or by men. Proud to have proven that she was "just as capable", Myriam remembers&nbsp ;: "There was a big difference in aesthetics: with Maman, we added a feminine side to the items that’ we were selling". She adds with a laugh: "I didn’said that the men n’shops weren’not neat."< /em>

A profession on the verge of extinction

The shopkeeper is saddened at not having found a buyer: "It’is a physically difficult job, we carry heavy products". You have to be in the store ten hours a day, "to earn so little". Moreover, Myriam remembers with emotion these last twenty years, which were "particularly difficult". As drugstores were not competitive enough compared to large stores, "they were decimated”. Then the internet, arriving at the turn of the century, dealt the final blow to those who remained. "Everyone imagines themselves an expert, so we feel useless. It’s a profession on the verge of extinction, laments the druggist.

But what marked the shopkeeper, "these were the works in the city center". The demolition then reconstruction of the Halles was "catastrophic" for the business: " Everyone thought the store was closed" she remembers. Covid followed, forcing to close shop "just after the markets reopened". Today, the druggist leaves with her head held high: "It’s not a revenge, it’s a victory" .

"Enjoying my grandchildren"

Supported by its customers "loyal, pleasant" and who have &quot ;brought a lot", she is amused by the nicknames given to her: "A regular m" rsquo;call doctor. For another client, I am the stain fairy."She has so many anecdotes that she should have kept a notebook. Upon learning of the upcoming closure of the institution, its clients are distressed: where will they go for advice?
But the future retiree,"born at 1 Place Laissac" and who will have spent his life in front of Les Halles, seems relieved: &quot ;The circle is complete". She will soon change scenery, for another region : "I will try to think of myself and enjoy my grandchildren." Unlike "merchants who close because their store is not working", the druggist considers herself very lucky to fold up shop "by choice". She has no bitterness: "Nothing, I regret nothing". A customer walks through the door, she abbreviates then concludes: "It's time".

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