The unpacked shop Zorneding opened in February 2020 with the aim of offering exclusively regional and plastic-free goods. Now the business, which is borne by the cooperative “Deine Alternative”, is on the verge of collapse: a call for donations states that the costs of the shop can no longer be borne. Alexandra Skeide from “Deine Alternative” explains how uncertainties in global politics can affect individual consumption.
SZ: Only two and a half years ago, the first unpackaged shop was opened in the Ebersberg district , now it is on the verge of bankruptcy. Doesn’t the concept capture the zeitgeist after all?
Alexandra Skeide: Yes, it hits him more than ever. However, I believe that external influences are currently simply tearing people out of their midst. We had Corona, we have the Ukraine war, we have worries about the energy supply: will we freeze? Can we pay the rent? Big companies go bankrupt. That scares people, and we can’t take away their fear.
Does this fear affect people’s consumer behavior?
We have observed that whenever uncertainties are communicated – for example via the press – this affects what people buy. We have our regular customers in Zorneding, but that’s just not enough. It was a gradual process that led to our current situation.
Since when has it been noticeably more difficult for your shop?
Since the beginning of the year, it’s always been little by little. The comrades were always informed.
Why are fewer and fewer people coming to the unpackaged store?
Because we aim to change the whole way of life with our concept. In uncertain times, I prefer to take what is quick and familiar. What’s more: A large supermarket has opened around the corner. That’s not our biggest target group now. But at that point in time the Ukraine crisis was just beginning, and the first price increases could already be felt. And I understand that too: Everyone looks at themselves first. Many have still filled up their oil tank. And then we look: Where can I save something?
Have you heard of other stores doing the same?
Farm shops also have lost sales, other bulk shops, organic shops, bakeries; the entire organic sector, as Federal Minister Habeck has stated.
The fundraiser aims to raise 10,000 euros. What is to happen with the money?
With the achieved fundraising goal, we are putting the shop back on a solid footing. In addition, we would like to use the campaign to draw attention to our unpackaged shop and find committed customers who appreciate the cozy atmosphere and friendly togetherness when shopping.
But appeals for donations cannot be a long-term solution.
No, but they offer us stability and we can think about other things. But that has to grow.
If you reach the fundraising goal, how much longer can the store keep going?
We hope that the planned measures will enable us to keep the unpackaged shop in Zorneding in the long term. But this has to happen from within the community; We are a cooperative, not a sole proprietorship.