One runs Léon le Caméléon, the other owns the Merlin dry-cleaner. The two share a store window along Boulevard Louis Blanc in downtown Montpellier, as well as the same approach: “we may go faster alone, but we go further together.” Thierry Carrière and Bertrand Lacombe have been putting this into practice since 2014, when the latter had just bought the business where he worked from his employer.
“I was trained by my boss. However, while I may have learned the job, I was still discovering what it means to head a company. I was 29 years old at the time,” explains Bertrand Lacombe.
That’s when Thierry Carrière, artisan creator at Léon le Caméléon, a nice boutique specialized in home furnishings, decoration, and interior decorating, decided to help the motivated young man, sharing his experience acquired since he opened his boutique workshop in 1996.
“He restored my confidence, which helped me a lot in the beginning,” admits Bertrand Lacombe.
The shared advice proved to be very useful. Quite quickly, the dry-cleaner began to diversify its customer base, notably by opening concierge services for companies, administrations, and local authorities, that is, lockers where employees and other agents can drop off clothing to be dry-cleaned.
Today, Bertrand Lacombe has five employees and his ties with Thierry Carrière are stronger than ever. He even created a dedicated space at the dry-cleaning shop to present beautiful works sold by Léon le Caméléon. On his side, Thierry Carrière has become the Merlin dry-cleaner’s leading ambassador.
They naturally lent a hand to their next-door neighbor La Chouette Parenthèse
, which offers a new concept for a “kid friendly” café. Unfortunately, the café had to close its doors to the public due to Covid-19 during the second lockdown, just three days after opening! How did they help? By going every day to order drinks, meals, and snacks, exchanging a few words, and by lending some items to decorate the entrance to the new café, suddenly limited to take-out orders only.
“Their support and warmth during that difficult period was essential,” agree the two owners.
Since the city’s tramway line 4 was completed, Boulevard Louis Blanc has flourished and continues to welcome new shops, such as Plurielle
. “The tramway brings us new customers,” rejoice Thierry Carrière and Bertrand Lacombe. They are even preparing to create a neighborhood association.
“We have already written the by-laws, using the name: Écusson Passion, as we will unite Boulevard Louis Blanc and part of the city center,” explains Bertrand Lacombe.
Solidarity made by merchants.