January 24, 2022

In Tourcoing, the Religious Counter is reinventing itself and launching a click and collect

Gaëtan Prouvost is the director of the Religious Counter in Tourcoing, a company founded in 1844. (© AS Hourdeaux / Croix du Nord)

How to adapt to the effects of the health crisis for a company? In Tourcoing, the religious counter, born in 1844 !, has been strongly impacted for 18 months. Result: he had to close his store in April 2021. But his team does not give up, with a new place, a new organization and new products. Since the beginning of December 2021, the “click and collect” has even been launched. We take stock with its leader, Gaëtan Prouvost.

The health crisis is still impacting economic life. Companies linked to tourism and international activity are particularly concerned. Some have closed, others have adapted. This is the case with the Religious Counter in Tourcoing, which specializes in religious objects.

Decrease in turnover

Why ? With economic activity based 50% on sales abroad, and the closure of large religious shrines for several months (80% of customers), the drop in turnover was staggering in 2020, nearly 50% . Not to mention the complete cessation of weddings, baptisms, communions for months, the heart of the activity of the Religious Counter.

2021 has not been easier, as many foreign pilgrims have not been able to return to the French shrines.

So we had to make some tough decisions. Gaëtan Prouvost explains: “The activity has been extremely slow since March 2020. We had to lay off four people, we went from 12 to eight employees”.

The warehouse of the Religious Counter in Tourcoing has been located since June 2021 in the Etoile business area, near Mouvaux.
The warehouse of the Religious Counter in Tourcoing has been located since June 2021 in the Etoile business area, near Mouvaux. (© AS Hourdeaux / Croix du Nord)

Moving house

The company decided on a new organization. This new life went through a move. “We closed our store on rue des Carliers in April 2021 and moved in June. “

The company is still located in Tourcoing, “our historical cradle” recalls Gaëtan Prouvost, but now in the Etoile business park, near Mouvaux.

“We have our offices, our warehouse, a small showroom, the workshop of our employee who takes care of the rosaries”, explains the director.

The storage space has doubled, “it is more suited to mail order sales, it allows us to have a larger stock to respond quickly to internet orders”. Because despite the crisis, the Religious Counter is reinventing itself and has projects.

One of the 2021 novelties of the Religious Counter in Tourcoing: a nativity scene snow globe made in France.
One of the 2021 novelties of the Religious Counter in Tourcoing: a nativity scene snow globe made in France. (© AS Hourdeaux / Croix du Nord)

The website activity has grown, with around 250,000 references: cards, statues, religious jewelry, candles, books, creches, figurines, incense… They can be continued to be obtained through the website: “People order on the internet, the advantage is that the stock is in real time. Payment is made on the site, and delivery is optional. Since the beginning of December 2021, packages can be collected on site, we have started the ‘click and collect’… ”

A partnership with people with disabilities from ESAAT du Recueil in Marcq-en-Baroeul was created this year for the packaging of thousands of figurines.

His own creations

In addition to the wholesale activity, the company has created its own religious objects since 2020. “We launched the Emany crèche, with 15 characters, including three new this year. It is made in alabaster, in Greece ”.

The Religious Counter has also created Christmas balls in white glass, several boxes are available, with messages and designs in gold. Not to mention a novelty: a special nursery snow globe!

The company still has projects: complete its Emany crèche, create statuettes of healthy patrons like Saint Joseph, as well as items to hang like an angel, a dove …

And the whole team is waiting for the resumption of pilgrimage activities in France and abroad.

Order on the Comptoir Religious website by clicking here. Possibility to have it delivered (free in parcel relay from 59 euros) or to pick up your order (without shipping costs) at 99 rue de Rotterdam in Tourcoing, during office hours.

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