Sunday, 20 December 2015 10:11

Almost six decades of selling ‘everything’

Costas Constantinou in his shop Costas Constantinou in his shop

I am often in Limassol’s old town – my favourite part of town. Recently out on errands, I decided that surely one of those ‘we-sell-everything’ shops must have the new desk lamp I needed after a little incident involving a bulb melting into the fixture. I tried the first one, not even getting off my bicycle for a friendly chat with the shop owner.

I had found him out on his sidewalk amidst a fascinating array of shopping trolleys, foldable chairs, watering cans, kerosene ovens… It turned out he had no desk lamps (gasp!) but his brother, two streets down, did. So off I went and found that both the brothers and their respective sidewalk arrangements looked very much alike.

A person is tempted to just stand and look and try to figure out what all these things might be used for. I introduced myself as the desk-lamp-seeker sent by his brother and a friendly chat continued almost seamlessly. While Costas, the handsome shop owner, rummaged through ‘stuff’ looking for my lamp, I marvelled at the shelves that went all the way up to the high ceilings, filled with more ‘stuff’.

Pots and pans, cups and glasses of various decades, plastic shower shelves, picture frames, watches and alarm clocks, hand tools, toys and notebooks, small electric appliances, gloves and shoestrings and many things for which one can’t even find a name. The kinds of things one will occasionally think of as ‘would be nice to have if only I knew where to get one’.

“Gosh,” I said, “You sell everything, don’t you?” to which Costas very aptly replied “We try to.” Our conversation went back to the lamp, by now pulled from a tall stack of boxes, many of which carried big names like Braun, Moulinex or Tefal.

After confessing my original plan of getting a really cheap lamp at a ‘big shop’, we agreed on a reduced price and a bulb was thrown in for good measure. All this greatly increased the value of the lamp to me, making it much more special than one pulled off a very different shelf by a nonchalant shop assistant, unlikely to even want to exchange as much as a greeting.

It turned out the shop I was standing in has existed for 59 years. Costa’s father Themis Constantinou from the village of Koilani (looking down at us from a photograph on one of the shelves) had opened it in 1956. No changes had since been made to the premises as such. Costas has been there for 27 years and by his youthful looks and cheerful personality seems set to stay for quite a few more.

What I really wanted to ask was, “But who buys all this stuff?” I reformulated it to “So who are your customers? Are they mostly of your generation?” I was told that they are young and old, local and foreign and frequently include owners of the bars and restaurants nearby. And probably people like me who enjoy a shop ‘with a soul’ that sells everything – including little gems one didn’t know one needed.

Article as featured in the Cyprus Weekly of December 11, 2015 

 

 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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