Espace Montagne: At Steel, the outdoors will be inside

At the beginning of September, a newcomer opens its doors in the Steel shopping center, which covers an area of ​​1,300 m2. Espace Montagne, a sign of the Sport 2000 group, will offer all the necessary equipment for the practice of outdoor disciplines. A project led by Romain Cottier, already in charge of the Sport 2000 store in Montbrison, who wants to complete the existing offer in Saint-Étienne.

The opening at Steel is planned for the first half of September. © Romain Cottier

Romain Cottier has the practice of outdoor sports running through his veins. Educated in sports studies in skiing and originally from Montbrison, he has practiced many of these disciplines in the region since a very young age. It is therefore quite natural that in 2017 he takes over the Sport 2000 store from his parents as a member, as the brand is developed in cooperatives. And just as the practice of a single discipline is not enough for him, he also needs more there. This will soon be done, as he will soon take the head of another brand linked to Sport 2000 called Espace Montagne, and specialist in equipment dedicated to the outdoors (trail, bike, ski, hiking, water sports, etc.). A unit installed at Steel, which will act as a pilot store and followed by many French brands in the sector such as Millet, Salomon, The North Face and Picture.

A redesigned formula

Unlike the franchise or the license of the brand, the cooperative gives all freedom of action to the member, who has no obligation to deliver only in the vicinity of the central purchase of the sign. Their role is also more participatory. ” As a Sport 2000 member, I am part of a working group with others and we were able to rethink the Espace Montagne in particular. The idea was to think about how to reposition and modernize the brand. From now on, it has a real concept, easier to reproduce, the logo has been reviewed, the naming, the positioning, with experience furniture. The idea was also to be able to work in the four seasons, and not limit oneself to disciplines around skiing. » A brand known to Romain Cottier since his store in Montbrison already has an Espace Montagne corner. And since you don’t change a winning team, the Steel shop benefits from 300m2 Mondovélo corner, another brand in the group, dedicated, as the name suggests, to cycling.

A bet

The idea for this store has been floating around in Romain Cottier’s head for years. And after two and a half years of discussions with Apsys, the mall developer, to find financial common ground without compromising experience, an agreement was reached. ” I find that Saint-Étienne lacks an offer, which is why Espace Montagne will complement the existing one. This is an opportunity to showcase our region for outdoor life and green tourism. The Loire is an area of ​​intense practice, with Pilat, Monts du Forez in particular. There is a real enthusiasm for these disciplines, with all levels represented. People want to reconnect with nature through simple practices.” The store will take place on an area of ​​1,300 m2. He needed a large catchment, which made Romain Cottier choose Steel. He acknowledges that this represents a heavy investment, although it is partly supported by Sport 2000.” It’s a big effort, but I know the market well, I don’t rush headlong without knowing where I’m going. »

This is an opportunity to showcase our region for outdoor life and green tourism »

Romain Cottier, manager of the Espace Montagne stores in Steel and Sport 2000 in Montbrison.

An immersive store

Through this pilot unit, it is also the concept of experience and immersion that the brand wants to highlight. It will have local imagery to help athletes project themselves into the environment, as well as areas to test products. ” We have also established a strong collaboration with Sidas, specialist in comfort around the foot. This will allow us to have an approach to sales that starts from the foot and not from the shoe thanks to a machine that analyzes it. We will also sell and rent touring, skating and Nordic skis. These are things that professionals hardly do anymore. » Currently, the team, which will have between eleven and thirteen employees, is undergoing training at the Montbrison site.

Salesmen yes, but technicians

Everyone is passionate about outdoor training, and the training aims to raise them in rank, because Romain Cottier believes that success will depend precisely on their technicality. It has also implemented a CSR policy which it aims to further develop. ” 100% of the brands sold also have a CSR program. We are naturally concerned with ecology, because nature is our field of practice, but also for the well-being of the employees. We have set up customized schedules to facilitate their social life and be part of a logic of well-being. Of course, this also helps to reduce turnover. » The opening is planned for the first half of September.

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