Anticafé offers another way to work in Aix-en-Provence

success story
Anticafé offers another way to work in Aix-en-Provence
02 March 2017 / Implantez, Générale
In one year, 2,500 members registered

Somewhere between the home, the office and a connected downtown café lies Anticafé, the concept dreamed up by the young Ukrainian Leonid Goncharov that continues to build out its network. After opening five Anticafé outposts in Paris and Rome, the franchise set out to conquer start-uppers, students and freelancers outside the capital cities. Anticafé Aix-en-Provence opened in February 2016. Anticafé is planning to expand to Marseille because the four-year-old brand is intent on capturing the new mobile workers who are driving the city's economic momentum and increasing internationalization. Anita Groff and Mélanie Münch, the first franchisees in Aix, tell how young entrepreneurs, students and residents have bought into this new space for work, life and socializing.

What is the Anticafé concept?

Anita Groff: Anticafé is a shared space that is a mash-up of a neighborhood Internet café and a coworking space. Users come for the convivial aspects of home and the convenience of a downtown office with the business facilities they need to work alone or hold meetings: Wi-Fi, projector, printer, scanner, etc. The Anticafé on Rue Granet in the heart of Aix-en-Provence can accommodate 44 people seven days a week. Any arrangement is possible: you can work with background music or find a quiet space on the upper floor. Anticafé can be reserved for private use by request with personalized services. We've done that this year for Airbus Helicopters, Enedis, Lush and others.
What really makes Anticafé stand out is that users pay based on how much time they spend here. We charge €5 per hour and €24 per day. A free membership card gives you a 15% discount. The rate includes unlimited access to our snack bar stocked with hot and cold drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, herbal tea, etc.), cereals, cookies and crackers, crudités and toasts and spreads.

What kind of clientele comes to Anticafé?

Anita Groff: Aix is a young, cosmopolitan city. French and international students account for one-third of our customers. We get a lot of freelancers, project developers, consultants, self-employed entrepreneurs and teleworkers.  In ten months, we have registered 2,500 members. Their profiles vary: some come to work, while others use it as an inviting space to chat and relax. We always have board games and magazines available. We also hold workshops on different topics to empower our members to progress in their personal and professional lives. Subjects have included using Facebook Pro to grow your business, creating a website and public speaking. Some seminars address well-being with topics like sophrology, self-hypnosis, stress management techniques and new methods to better prepare for tests. Every other Sunday morning, we get big crowds of all ages who like to participate in our Antidiscussions!

As a native of Lille, did you receive any assistance to help you set up your business? 

Anita Groff: I chose to live in Aix, the city that won my heart. It's so pleasant and vibrant. I spent a year doing a market study that validated the concept in this region. The plethora of higher education institutions and the vitality of its professional networks were crucial. Provence Promotion and Pays d’Aix Développement were my first points of contact; they were my local eyes and ears when I was drawing up my plans in Lille. They helped me collect all the necessary data before and during the implementation of my business plan. The Provence Promotion newsletter still provides a wealth of information about the economic actors who choose to settle in the region and about growth opportunities. In 2017, we plan to boost our sales by 40% and to create two jobs.