Chandolin: he opens a tanning salon but goes bust after just 3 days
Thibault Girard is one of these people who always sees things through to the end. His friends describe him as a real go-getter. However, the old saying, ‘build it and they’ll come’ doesn’t always work out, as this 39-year-old from Monthey found out to his cost.
Let’s go back to the start. A successful businessman based in the Chablais, Thibault Girard made his fortune through a dozen or so tanning salons that he opened in the area. ‘I’ve always wanted to bring a little ray of sunshine to those who have to live in cold, dark places’, he explained.
It was only natural that the entrepreneur launched his venture in his native Chablais, where demand for his service was strongest. It was a runaway success. Very quickly, the so-called Sun King’s business became a must-have service across the region. However, the ‘king’ caused his own downfall, brought about by the kind of delusions of grandeur so common in the rich and powerful.
Nightmare in the Val d’Anniviers
Always seeking to extend the boundaries of his empire, bit by bit, Thibault Girard looked longingly towards the Central Valais. ‘I’d heard tell of the city of the Sun – I wanted to conquer it myself.’ The Monthey-born man took up residence near Chandolin. ‘A sun king obviously has to live where he can look down upon his subjects’, he revealed.
He was happy, but there was something missing. The man from the Chablais was disadvantaged due to being little-known in his adopted region. To counter his low public profile, he decided to leverage his entrepreneurial skills and sank his savings into a cutting-edge solarium. It was a calamitous mistake. ‘Not a single client walked through the door – I went bust after three days. To help me understand what had gone wrong, I took a day off to talk to the locals’, he recounted. By the time he came back from his fact-finding mission, he was sun-burnt all over. ‘Damn, the sun’s really scorching here,’ he noted. Now he understood his mistake. ‘Here, they’re really lucky with the weather’.