It’s the Portuguese version of Vermont Country Store.
We owe, again, the stellar website Springwise for telling us about the store A Vida Portuguesa, a company that has tracked down Portugal’s unique brands and “opened a store dedicated to products that have resisted the urge to keep up with changing times.”
The store is located in a former soap factory in Lisbon in the “traditional-yet-hip neighbourhood of Chiado.” Any that is “traditional-yet-hip” is right with us, we have to say. A bit from Springwise:
The store sells over 1,000 products that have maintained their original packaging, that are made by hand, or that represent traditional Portuguese craftsmanship. Soaps, pencils, mugs, jewelry, notebooks, coffee, tea, blankets and even toothpaste-everything on stock holds a fragment of the nation’s collective memory.
Like Colonial Williamsburg (see examples below) the store sources new items as well as recommissions old items that are long forgotten. It has a dual appeal to adults and to youths, who like the retro packaging and find most mass brands repugnant.
A store like this is possible in every travel destination, and is a critical part of a regional tourism landscape. Each regional product produced in your destination is a potential advertisement for your destination. Thus, this store is the perfect thing to do while IN Lisbon, and the items it sells are perfect advertisements for Lisbon once the visitor goes home.
While Cracker Barrel’s amusing gift shops show us the value of older brands on a national basis, there are other regional examples. Many progressive museum shops stock regional and retro goods. A few examples in the U.S:
- The Craft House of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the original regional branding store. The Williamsburg Reproductions program has revived hundreds of regional patterns and designs over the years. Colonial Williamsburg is the originator of the idea of reviving long dead brand names like Tarpley’s Store, Prentis Store, John Greenhow Store, Raleigh Tavern Bakery, Chowning’s Tavern and other brands from the 18th century.
- Vermont Country Store in Vermont
- Mast General Store, with locations across the South
- America’s Market in Wheeling, West Virginia.
- My good friend Pam Michael opened the store Very Richmond inside the Jefferson Hotel in the mid 1990s in Richmond, Virginia. It is in the James Center in Richmond, and sells all manner of Virginia stuff.