Thursday, 28 February 2008

Specialty shops of Vigo

Have you ever wanted to go into a shop that only sold the item you're looking for? Specialty stores although small, provide a staggering range of possibilities for that one thing you're after.

Here in Vigo these family run businesses, handed down from generation to generation, were once the cornerstone of every day life, but now are struggling in the face of the big supermarket chains and hyperstores and many have shut their doors simply because they can't compete on price. Which is a shame as they offer personal service and friendly advice, which is a far cry from their high-powered counterparts. However they can still be found and enjoyed if you know where to look.

These specialty shops are from a bygone era and specialty really is there middle name. They can sell everything from watches to umbrellas One of my personal favourites is the one pictured above, a Zapatilleria or a Slipper Shop in el barrio Calvario, Calle Urzaiz. This shop is almost entirely dedicated to slippers, I say almost because the word zapatilla originally only meant slipper but upon the arrival of sneakers, trainers or whatever you like to call them, were also given the name zapatilla. So I guess in a way this allowed Zapatillerias to branch out and diversify without the need for re-invention!

Another favourite of mine also in Calvario is a shop which has two specialties, which I think couldn't be further apart from one another; knives and umbrellas. Every conceivable space around the walls of the shop and ceiling are crammed with every possible type of umbrella, the counter is the only place along with a small portion of the back wall that is devoted to knives.

These shops are an intriuging insight into the past and if you get the chance go take a look, before they're all gone!

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