Les Sables-d’Olonne: a page turns to the hotel-restaurant Le Roc-Saint-Jean which changes ownership

Areams and its disabled workers are leaving Roc Saint-Jean. The hotel-restaurant is taken over by Karine Groussard. ©JDS

A page turns for thehotel-restaurant Le Roc Saint-Jean in Les Sables-d’Olonne. He was indeed managed since 2000 by Areams (association which intervenes in the field of prevention, protection, training, disability, inclusion and social and medico-social action) in the form of an Esayou (establishment or service of help through work). Daily, nine users, disabled workerswere trained there in the hotel industry (19 rooms) and catering, supervised by four professionals.

Too much financial constraint

Since this Friday, April 29, the Roc Saint-Jean is sold to new owner. A decision that was imposed on the Areams. Loïc Péron, the president, explains: “We had created a special hotel-restaurant here, in a magical site. Our goal is to give employment to the people we support and not to do business.. However, it was difficult to make them work on Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays… At the same time, this site constantly requires work and investment“. The establishment had undergone major work two years ago, in particular decoration. But the task being endless, “it would have been necessary to increase the tariffs to ensure the investments”.

So, to retain jobs while having less real estate constraints, Areams has turned to a new activity for its users. From mid-May, the association takes over the management of the cafeteria of the hospital of Les Sables-d’Olonne which will be renamed “Café Bulle”.

“Everyone will keep their job. »

Loïc Péron, president of Areams

A great success for more than 20 years

The last service at Roc Saint-Jean therefore took place on Thursday, April 21, not without heartache for the disabled workers who supported it, sometimes for a very long time. Like Andrée who was part of the workforce since the opening 22 years ago. “I have experienced everything here. I’ve evolved. I was now working in the kitchen. It’s funny to leave. It will change but it is good that we keep our work”. The emotion is palpable in Pierre. “I had worked here for 18 years. It hurts my heart to leave. I served many people. I know them well, there were real links with the regulars. I will miss the customers”.

For more than two decades, the Roc Saint-Jean has been a great success with locals, tourists and associations. “You have given a good image of our profession, of our association, thanked Loïc Péron, addressing the users. The Roc Saint-Jean has a good reputation and has always received positive feedback on the networks”. Furthermore,

“there aren’t many places in Les Sables-d’Olonne where you can eat with such a sea view and with parking nearby”.

The Roc Saint-Jean becomes the Villa Saint-Jean

The interest, for Les Sables-d’Olonne, was to maintain a tourist activity on this site. “And we also wanted a local player”, specifies the president of Areams. This buyer, the association found him in the person of Karine Groussard. A hotel and restaurant professional since she managed the Logis de la Chabotterie for many years with her former husband. She aims, within several years, to make “La Villa Saint-Jean” (the new name of the place) a four-star establishment..

But, first and for this first season, the site will operate as is.

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“The facade will be redone on the street side and a 300 m2 terrace will be installed in the coming days. But the bulk of the work will begin next winter. »

Karine Groussard, new owner

The Villa Saint-Jean will open on Thursday, May 19. “The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week until September 30. We will offer a short menu that will change regularly”. A team of twelve people will work on site.

A new restaurant for the Areams in Les Sables-d’Olonne

As for the restoration activity of the Areams in Les Sables-d’Olonne, it is expected to resume in the coming years since the association has been selected to set up a restaurant in the future social center “Les Sables-d’Olonne ensemble” which will be built at la Vannerie, at the heart of the health center. “We will have a capacity of more than one hundred covers over 300 m2. It will be the only restaurant at La Vannerie since this type of activity is prohibited there, says Loïc Péron. We have the right to settle there because the restaurant will be an Esat. With this restaurant, weekday and daytime hours will be much more compatible with the professional integration of our users”.

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