Épicerie Fardoche, the retail showcase for Société-Orignal, the cult Montreal-based purveyor of wild and curated Quebec products, has closed. Owners Alex Cruz and Cyril Gonzales made the announcement on Facebook today. Here it is, translated:
It's with heavy hearts that we announce the closure of Épicerie Fardoche. Despite sustained support, good numbers, and the work of a team that feels gutted, our collective effort has not managed to gather enough people from the neighbourhood to stay open. This is only a goodbye.
In a phone interview with rueMasson.com, Cruz elaborated: "Quickly, we had to make adjustments and changes, and adapt. We invested, we did marketing, a suggestion box. We followed nine suggestions out of ten. But by the second week, our sales stagnated. The cost of being profitable was too high, even if our rent wasn't."
From wild catfish to dandelions, fresh algae to rabbit, Fardoche wanted to highlight the same terroir fundamentals as Société-Orignal, and create not only awareness, but also an open dialogue about Quebec farmers and their products. The store also evolved to offer a sit-down space for breakfast and lunch, and a range of fine, prepared foods, such as charcuterie from former Maison Publique cook Phillip Viens.
"Will people be interested in wild sea parsley?," Cruz wondered when the store opened last summer. "Who knows? But if it’s not available, we’ll never know! It’s going to be hit or miss but we’ll learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward."