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Shops in their Golden Years

The saying of “out with the old, in with the new”fits so well in today’s affluent society. It’s as much a manipulative excuse for sellers to draw customer spending as our self-justifying claims to buy something new.

Not just old products are replaced by new, age-old stores are also being taken over. Convenience stores are now a necessity for Hong Kong’s urban citizens, but long before they first appeared in the city, most of the residents bought their daily necessity at the traditional wine stores, the earliest version of modern supermarkets.

The traditional Chinese wine stores are in fact an adaptation of the foreigner-founded shops, opened in the early years, dealing in western imports such as cigarette and wine. The Chinese merchants then followed suit, and new-format wine stores were seen springing up. In addition to tobacco and alcoholic drinks these shops used to offer, also available are a new range of merchandise, from staples, cookware and cleansing agents to toys and snacks.

traditioanl wine stores

Unlike grocery stores, these wine stores are generally both wholesalers and retailers and as they were normally run in residential communities targeting neighborhood, putting things on tab is usually allowed.

Unfortunately, confronted with increasingly fierce competition brought by tons of conveniently located supermarkets, franchised stores and other retail options along with their much wider range of products, the traditional wine stores are now a rarity. Some still retain the wine-selling heritage, while others just operate as much the same way as grocery stores; they still offer cheaper prices compared with convenience stores, though.

While the sense of community still lingers, the age-old wine stores are silently dying. In this day and age, who indeed will bother to pay a visit and back up those fading away old shops?

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