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May 9, 2006

Why is the oldest grocery store in Spain (since 1868) like a good website?


When I started reading Geoff Pingree's April 2 New York Times Travel section story about Ultramarinos La Confianza (above) in Huesca, Spain, at the foot of the Aragonese Pyrenees, I thought it was just one more interesting place I'll never get to.

But as I read to the end I realized there are some object lessons that apply just as well to the virtual world that may be learned from this remarkable store's way of doing things.

    From the article:

    But as much as it caters to the connoisseur, La Confianza is also a thoroughly homey place....

    The store is also known for its distinctly personal character.

    ... The shop exudes a friendly, even intimate atmosphere.

    And in a country where markets usually close from midday Saturday until Monday morning, La Confianza (the name means trust in Spanish) is open every day of the week.

    This may be the secret to the store's longevity.

    Indeed, the store seems to embody the Spanish notion that where one shops depends more on who is selling than on what one is buying.

    "My father considered this store a service, not a business," said Ms. Sanvicente [María Jesús Sanvicente is the owner and fourth generation of the founding family] matter–of–factly.

    "We've followed his tradition of serving the people who buy our goods. That's how we've stayed in business all these years."

So simple, really.

Oh, you want the long story short version?

OK: be pleasant and present.

The store is located at Plaza del Mercado 7, Huesca, Spain; tel: 34-974-222-632.

May 9, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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It smells of spices, Jamon Iberico (Iberic ham, cheese and olives. The owner is a delight and a very patient woman. Happen to be there during "high" tourist time and she patiently helped each person in her store; answering every question with a smile. Since it's easy to travel by train, this was a weekend "study break" trip and might I add well worth the $12 roud-way ticket! Will always remember this store when I return to the states. Thank you for mentioning it.

Posted by: J | May 9, 2006 4:48:28 PM

I'll bet it smells like a proper shop, too.

Posted by: Skipweasel | May 9, 2006 4:35:38 PM

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