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Traditional department stores thrive in metropolis

08-20-2012 20:14 BJT

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With the rapid economic and social progress of China, modern trendy department stores have sprung up everywhere. But there are still some old style shops that have remained nearly unchanged for decades, and have even seen an increase in interest from people looking to purchase something of the past.

Liu Xiurong has been working at the Yong'an Department Store for most of her life. Her daily routine includes selling kitchenware and beauty products that have slowly gone out of fashion. Working on an abacus and greeting customers behind the counter is the life she has maintained for decades.

There are still some old style shops that have remained
nearly unchanged for decades, and have even seen an
increase in interest from people looking to purchase
something of the past.

Liu Xiurong, shop assistant, said, "I’ve been working here for 32 years, this store has changed little in terms of its size and layout. Each assistant runs her own counter, and most customers are actually our neighbours. We have a strong emotional bond."

Opened in 1958 in a four-storey block in southern Beijing, the store sells all manner of daily necessities, from trainer shoes to bolts of cloth. The past is alive here. Chairman Mao still smiles down at customers and goods are packed, stuffed and crammed into glass cases.

"The store might appear a little out of date compared to modern, fancy department stores. But customers care nothing about it. In fact, they are here to buy a little bit of the past."

There are still some old style shops that have remained
nearly unchanged for decades, and have even seen an
increase in interest from people looking to purchase
something of the past.

56-year-old Wang Wenjian could hardly contain her delight as she looked at a selection of cheap thermal flasks and a basin. These items are exactly what she wanted for her sister’s silver anniversary.

Wang Wenjian, customer, said, "In the past, people used to give a thermal flask, wash basin and bed sheets for wedding gifts. They stir up a sense of nostalgia and carry a strong sentimental value. Although we can afford more expensive gifts now, we just can’t help thinking of the past."

The owner of the store told me that far from being an obstacle, being old helps the store survive and thrive.

Gao Shunxiang, Store Manager, said, "The stuff we sell is very cheap. Hand creams like Pehchaolin only sells for 2.5 yuan. But they are fast disappearing in the modern world. So customers keep coming."

There are still some old style shops that have remained
nearly unchanged for decades, and have even seen an increase
in interest from people looking to purchase something
of the past.

Nie Jia, CCTV reporter, said, "I remember when I was in kindergarten, every child had these kinds of enamel cups and bowls. I haven’t seen them for ages. Just now the manager told me that these are the only available stock they have right now. So I have to buy some in case I never see them again."

I decided to treat myself with a little childhood fantasy. Fortunately for those who want a taste of the past, there is always such a store and its collection of everyday items from a bygone era, reminding us of the good old days.

 

 

Editor:Bai Yang |Source: CCTV.com

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