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How Tarare tries to revitalize the life of its businesses to escape the dead city syndrome

February 12, 2019. The city of Tarare, located 45 kilometers from Lyon, tries to boost the life of its local shops. – C. Girardon / 20 Minutes

  • Former flagship of the textile industry, Tarare is one of the cities that, because of peripheral urbanization in particular, has gradually seen its downtown emptying its shops.
  • Today, the municipality has 13% of vacant commercial premises.
  • A situation that is being addressed by the city, which is one of the 222 municipalities included in the "Action Coeur de Ville" program.

A town nestled "between Paul Bocuse and the Troisgros brothers". Located 45 kilometers from Lyon and as many Roanne,
Tarare, a town of 11,000 inhabitants, has suffered the full impact of globalization. A former jewel of the textile industry, the city saw its activity collapse in the mid-1970s. Impoverishment grew and the phenomenon continued to grow over the next two decades.

One example among many others of a subject that preoccupies the inhabitants of the medium-sized towns according to the barometer of the territories IPSOS-Cities of France: if 71% consider the commercial offer satisfactory, it is well inferior to the big agglomerations, and especially 86% of middle-class residents believe that downtowns are dying.

Trade is one of the concerns of the inhabitants of the medium-sized cities.
Trade is one of the concerns of the inhabitants of the medium-sized cities. – Cities of France

86% of the inhabitants of medium-sized towns believe that the centers of these municipalities are dying.
86% of the inhabitants of medium-sized towns believe that the centers of these municipalities are dying. – Cities of France

In Tarare, the peripheral urbanization that resulted from this period has had the effect of "devitalizing the city center". Many local stores have gone out of business and the advent of online sales has not helped the situation.

13% of vacant businesses

Today, Tarare lists 180 businesses but has 13% of vacant premises. A situation to which the city tries to remedy, which is part of the 222 municipalities of France, integrated in the program "Action heart of city" set up by the government. The state will unlock five billion euros over five years to give a boost to "medium-sized cities" and "bring life back to downtown".

"This will be an accelerator in the implementation of our projects," reacts Bruno Peylachon, the mayor of Tarare, stating to have obtained additional aid of 1.8 million euros from the region. In connection with the COR, agglomeration community of western Rhodanian, the city began by establishing a business incubator.

Progressive rents

"It's about helping merchants to move to our home by offering, for example, progressive rents. For two years, they pay rent below market prices, "says the elected. Chef Philippe Bellan, who runs the restaurant The Popotte and two other establishments, was the first to benefit.

"When the business I was working in closed in 2015, the town hall came to me and asked me to stay," he says, adding, "The first year, as a subtenant, got a reduction of 35% rent and 15% the second. The fact of being helped by the city was especially useful to me to convince the banks to lend me the necessary money. "

"Click and Collect" and concierge service

Among the other lines of thought to revitalize businesses: "The click and collect". A service that would allow consumers to order online in the downtown signs and then remove their items in one of the convenience stores. But also a concierge system. "There are 5,200 jobs in Tarare. The idea would be to facilitate the lives of employees, who come from outside. Take the example of a suit to bring to the laundry. A service would pick up the piece on the site where the employee works, take him to the laundry and then bring it back to the person, "says Bruno Peylachon.

Thanks to these measures, "the goal would be, within a few years, to fall below 10% of vacant businesses. It will take time but the city will change, "promises the mayor, who sees a good eye the recent establishment of the pharmaceutical giant Boiron on its land and the completion of the link between the A89 and A6, now placing Tarare 30 minutes from Lyon.

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