| 15 April 2024, Monday |

Moscow’s most famous grocery store closes its doors amid pandemic

A historic grocery store in central Moscow is to shut its doors after trading for over a hundred years due to legal issues and a drop in tourism caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Opened at the turn of the 20th century, Yeliseyevsky Store is renowned for its palatial, neo-baroque interior and wide array of gourmet foods and souvenirs.

But the shelves — usually loaded with fine spirits, fresh fruit and traditional Russian ornaments — have been eerily empty in recent days since the announcement that the shop would close in April.

“It wasn’t just a place to drop by and buy some food,” Muscovite Yelena Bakhtina told Reuters as she shopped at Yeliseyevsky.

“It has been a symbol of the city. I used to come here to admire the interiors. It’s a pity we won’t have this anymore,” she added.

Located on Tverskaya Street, a thoroughfare crossing the heart of the Russian capital, the store used to draw a steady stream of tourists, but their numbers have decreased severely due to COVID-19.

During the Soviet era, the store was known as Gastronom No. 1 and sold a wide selection of goods despite food shortages.

A number of issues had caused the store to shut its doors, including legal problems and changing behavior of consumers who prefer to go to large stores in residential areas, Alexander Kanshin, a Chamber of Commerce and Industry official, told local television.

Municipal authorities have said the facility’s next occupant will be compelled to preserve Yeliseyevsky’s lavish interior as an architectural monument.

  • Reuters