Between Manu Garcia and his pala, the love story has lasted for more than a decade. Almost 32 years old, someone who divides his time between French Padel Shop, My Padel Blind and Padel XP, asserts itself as a key player in the padel French. His life in Spain, his experiences, his vision of the market: discover the first part of his portrait on Padel Magazine.

The discovery of an “incredible” sport

“I must have been 15 years old when I knew the padel, if I remember correctly. I lived in Spain and played tennis. However, I had received very poor advice on my stringing and I had “tennis elbow”, serious elbow problems. I went to the physiotherapist twice a week, I couldn't play. One day, my physiotherapist advised me to play padel. My father had already started hitting the ball a little and finally, I healed my elbow slowly while playing padel, in Valencia. For a young person who comes from tennis, when you start to do against windows – or against walls, because I started on a concrete court – and the ball comes back on the other side, it's there that you tell yourself that this sport is incredible. »

A new adventure between North and South

“At 18, I left to live in France. I took it easy for two and a half years, and started playing again in 2014. I was playing Padel Attitude to Lille intensively. THE padel developed in France and I was able to build my network with Francesc and German, two Spanish friends, who sold land padel and snowshoes. Their job was to develop pro-shops. It was at that time, around 2014-2015, that I started to get a taste for it. I worked at Decathlon and I was close to Artengo to test, listen, see new things. »

“I then set out with the Montpellier club to create a large pro-shop, which was called “Les 5 raquettes” at the time. But when I contacted all the brands, they advised me to become a salesperson for them instead. This is where I met the bosses of the firms (Royal Padel, Siux) who wanted me to take care of the French market for them. Finally, I worked for Padel Nuestro, the world leader in the sale of snowshoes padel, while selling land at the same time. »

The coronavirus, a decisive turning point in padel in France?

“Covid has had two effects on the padel. All the dynamics that were launched were automatically interrupted: the creation of clubs, but also certain closures, which were frozen because the French state did not want too many businesses to close because of that. There was this negative effect on the business side, then an incredible boom post-Covid. In Spain, the padel fed on crises. The economic crisis in 2008 meant that we found ourselves with a lot of empty buildings, and we started to set up clubs in full force. »

“This crisis therefore propelled this sport to the top, and I had to reconvert. I launched into the business with Julien Pes, I joined forces with him to take the train on the road. »

Manu Garcia Julien Pes Franck Binisti FIP Rise Canet 2021
Manu Garcia and Julien Pes interviewed by Franck Binisti

French Padel Shop, the birth of a pioneer

“One day, Julien came to see me to suggest that I launch a website. He already had a lot of good ideas but others didn't want to listen to him. He worked extremely well, and became one of my biggest clients. We were in the same city, with different stocks. It had to go a little further to take the legal step, but relationally, the work was already done. »

“New players wanted to enter the market. I had a dream which was to create a large group with all the players (common logistics, common stock). A kind of enormous logistics platform in France, with all French orders leaving from there. Afterwards, everyone could set up their own pricing policy, customer service, product sheet, etc. But the objective was really to do something grouped together. »

The consecration of a fierce trio

“Régis Monnerie was complementary to what we were doing with Julien. He joined the group, and the progress was enormous on Padel XP. We began to grow the company, with two then three sites. The turnover exploded, it was a huge success. But like in any company, when you explode too quickly, it becomes complicated: you start to invest, you start to have more expenses, it's difficult. »

French Padel Shop Pau
The French store Padel Shop in the Pau suburbs

French Padel Shop and Padel XP, two specific entities

“They are two different sites with two different identities, which communicate in their own way. We all sell the same thing (Nox, Babolat, Head,…), we cannot differentiate ourselves on the product. We decided to target distinct customers, with different products and pricing strategies. Padel XP will appeal more to customers capable of paying more, while French Padel Shop is aimed at an audience attached to the physical point of sale. The goal is to address customers in a divergent way to reach as many people as possible. »

“The two sites evolve in the same way. For us, the pivotal year was 2022. It was the year when we experienced immense progress and changes in society. With Julien, we started to have different desires, and he finally left. Régis took more place in society. »

A store in Pau that’s a hit

“We tested all the sales methods on French territory. We took the initiative to set up the Pau store with Fred Richeme in 2021, and it was a colossal success. After six months, we already had to find new premises! We are convinced that today, the physical store has a huge future in France. »

" The padel, it's a new sport. It’s a sport that people need to try. They need to take the racket, to have it in hand, and this proximity is essential. If I had the opportunity to create another store, I would, but there is a problem: no one is capable of knowing everything about more than 400 models of rackets! It's very difficult to find people in France who want to work and who are reliable. This requires a lot of training in terms of time and investment. »

What vision for the future?

“Currently, the progressions are in double digits in percentage. We are progressing very well in relation to the market, despite the multiplication of players. I am confident for the future! To succeed, you must at all costs recruit a manager padel who is an expert in his field. Our expertise is rare and we will continue to work because the market will grow. »

It was through his father that Auxence discovered the padel, one evening in June 2018. Today, he passionately follows the international circuit and teases the pala in his training club, Toulouse Padel Club. You can also find it on La Feuille de Match and LesViolets.com, two specialist media on Toulouse Football Club.