Saturday, 28 March 2009

The corner shop (Το μπακάλικο)

Corner shops and mini-markets are supposed to be in decline all over the world due to the influence of supermarkets. This is true here in Greece too, but some mini-marts fare better than others for various reasons, mainly to do with location (they may be far away from supermarkets or located in business areas) and variety of produce (shopkeepers who provide fresh produce fare better).

bakaliko the mini-maket in the neighbourhood

Supermarkets have been trying to do away with the little neighbourhood mini-market, but the 'bakaliko' in the photo happens to be located in a densely populated area of the town. The street where it is located is filled with apartment blocks serving both as private homes and offices, including a host of doctor's surgeries.

The road running parallel to the bakaliko is where the Agora is situated, but people still use their corner store here; there were plenty of customers coming in and out when I was in the area. Town people prefer local shops in the city centre than having to move their cars from the little parking space available, or walk too far carrying heavy shopping bags, etc. Local shop owners can nip in to buy some coffee or sugar for the office, some fruit for a healthy lunch choice, and get some shopping done before they go home. This shop sells all the basic supplies, including staple supermarket products, which is a good thing, because people in the middle of town don't often have a supermarket easily accessible to them.

sfakion street hania chania
The area the corner shop serves is filled with apartments, doctor's surgeries, accountants, lawyers, and other offices. All the lower stories at street level are specialised shops of some kind: a bakery, dry-cleaner's, cafe, clothes shops, hairdresser, travel agent, real estate office, among others.

The owner of the store is a cousin of my husband's. He grows and sells his own village produce (olives, oranges, potatoes, among other produce when in season) which urban people seek; they often do not have access to products straight from the villages that surround the town centre of Hania. As you can see, he's doing a roaring trade in greens, too.

Click on the photo to see the notes for more details of the products sold here.

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