"we were in full flight, but the confinement cut off our wings"

Small businesses and local producers have their heads under water. In the province of Liège, several of them are sounding the alarm. The health crisis has had a significant impact on consumer habits, but not always in favor of small businesses as one might tend to believe.

In Céline Lambert’s dairy in Dalhem, during confinement, customers jostled each other. For several months, they have been absent subscribers. “They left and we don’t know where they went, we imagine at the supermarket“, exclaims the owner of the farm Qui lait cru,”We tried to question ourselves to find out if we had poor communication, if our products lacked quality, if we were too expensive in terms of price, but that’s not it. So we don’t know! “

Overnight our numbers plummeted.

In Liège, in a bulk grocery store, we made the same observation. There, it was the confinement that scared the customers away. “We were in full flight, and I think we still had a bright future ahead of us, but confinement cut our wings“affirms Marine Ledoyen, the manager of the entre-pot,”Overnight our numbers plummeted. During the confinement, we only had a visit from the inhabitants of the neighborhood but all the clients who work remained at home and no longer came to the city center. Fortunately, we were able to keep this neighborhood clientele, but it waned over time. People came less often, they did smaller errands.

Consumer power

For several months, the customers lost by these two actresses from the local sector have not returned, probably because their habits have changed. For Céline Lambert, it is important that consumers are more empowered. “We have to make the consumer aware that he has a very impactful power. The little detour he is going to take to his local producer or to the craftsman is very important for us”.

The finding is general and affects a large part of the sector, adds Marine Ledoyen “It is a signal and a cry of alarm from all the small local players: we are not doing very well, the sector is in bad shape and we need help, whether from the city of Liège or from the government. . We are a bit forgotten about all of this. We were considered essential but aside from that, we were no longer essential for a whole bunch of our customers. “

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