La Gazette Hauts-de-France, the regional business newspaper, has published an article on Loca Service.
Read it here: Loca Service, an SME that’s not afraid of the cold!

Located in La Bassée

Loca Service, a small business with a big heart

The company is impressive not only for its size, but also for its know-how over almost 40 years: Loca Service, a family-run SME based in La Bassée, is one of the leaders in refrigerated display case rental. Taken over by Aurélien Bouve, the founder’s son, in 2016, the company combines innovation and performance in a niche market.


If you’re browsing the fresh produce aisles of a supermarket and lean over a refrigerated display case to find a product, chances are you’re looking at one from Loca Service. With its 300 product references and 43,000 possible display cases, the La Bassée-based SME is now one of the leaders in refrigerated display case rental.

When Aurélien Bouve’s father founded his first company in 1981, he had no idea of the importance of the sector: “Originally, my father traded in food equipment, and in particular breakdown services for the catering trade (butchers, delicatessens, bakeries, etc.). He was asked to refurbish shop windows and set up Occase Service in Lomme,” recalls Aurélien Bouve, who joined the company 14 years ago and has been at the helm since 2016. He soon turned to rental and became the largest food equipment dealer north of Paris.

It was a request from the Auchan group that turned Loca Service into the company it is today: “At the time, supermarket promotions were located at the entrance to the store. But Auchan V2 didn’t have a fresh produce department there, so my father created a display case on wheels for them to run temporary departments“. From Villeneuve d’Ascq, the company moved on to Faches, Englos, Roncq… and then all the regional Auchan stores. Loca Service thus began its ascent, setting up in 2001 in La Bassée, on a former Levi’s site that used to manufacture 501 jeans, now relocated outside France.

330 employees in France

At La Bassée, the 16,000 m2 site employs 120 people, with the remainder spread across 11 sites in France. “We have to be as close as possible to our customers – supermarkets, food processing, events – because they can’t afford to lose a day’s sales. A day’s outage is a catastrophe for an ephemeral operation“. The display cases are manufactured in Portugal in a factory employing 80 people, who produce 4,000 cases a year. Loca Service is unique in that it has integrated the entire value chain in-house: from the manufacture of the display cases to the creation of graphic identities via a studio (through the subsidiary Les Pingouistes, editor’s note), including printing and window dressing.

“We‘re always one step ahead. For example, our teams have worked on remote refrigeration control via ‘Ice Connect’ to avoid breakdowns. Energy consumption is a real issue, but we’ve always been one step ahead. For over 20 years, we’ve been innovating to reduce energy consumption, with insulating materials, cabinet closures, etc.” explains Aurélien Bouve, to the extent that the SME is now able to offer its 15,000 customers products that comply with regulations requiring supermarkets and hypermarkets to close their refrigerated cabinets – a commitment that, for the moment, has not yet been met by all supermarkets, despite an action program launched by the government in… 2012.

Dazzling growth 

Each branch in France maintains the display cases, and the La Bassée site houses a technicenter with a paint and assembly booth to refurbish them. “We throw away very few products. We transform and adapt them,” continues the manager. In six years, the company’s sales have doubled to reach €50 million. Over the past three years, Loca Service has expanded three times, with a further 3,500 m2 expansion planned for early 2024. Every year, Loca Service handles 200,000 logistical movements, a feat that calls for meticulous organization.

Among the company’s latest innovations is a new-generation 605-liter refrigerated cabinet that meets energy-saving requirements with special insulation, low-energy LEDs… and an 80% reduction in energy consumption. Currently in production in Portugal, it is due to go on sale this summer, and will also be equipped with a data collection system to monitor sales and manage inventory.

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