Local Shops with Charm in A Coruña, Spain


Since I’ve been back in my townhome, I’m on a mission to shop more at locally owned businesses. My reasoning is that more money is kept in the community and the unique character of your neighborhood is defined in large part by the business that are established there, so it plays a big factor in your overall satisfaction with where you live. In my experience, the relationship you establish with the shop owners and the personalized service you get has nothing to do with your typical shopping malls. Having lived in Chicago for so many years, I understand local shopping is not as widely available in the US as it is in Europe. I have nothing against big shopping centers as I do make purchases there too, but the pleasure of walking to your nearest local butcher or produce store and being greeted as an old friend is priceless for me.

Farmacia Villar (Drugstore)

This drugstore is not in my neighborhood but I find it so charismatic that I don’t mind taking a walk just to stop by and look at all the incredible decor and architecture details it offers. It was established in 1827 and the current pharmacist, Alberto Villar is the 5th generation in a long family tradition. You can see the portraits of all the previous generations exhibited with pride at the entrance. Obviously the drugstore has undergone several renovations through the years but today it is a pleasure to walk in and immerse in the history of such an amazing place.

Alberto Villar, 5th generation of pharmacists.

Casa Cuenca (Grocery Store)

Casa Cuenca is a grocery store established in 1947 and it was one of the main ship suppliers for the port of A Coruña. The success of Casa Cuenca, according to the current owner Javier Mosquera, is that they always give clients an impeccable personal service, they treat them as old friends and this has allowed them to stay in business for generations. Besides, they carry gourmet products that are not easily available in big supermarket chains. Javier has also seen a recent shift in his clientele as younger people are becoming more interested in trying new products from local shops.

Casa Claudio (Gourmet Shop)

This is one of my favorites! I remember going there with my Dad as it was one of the stores in the city that carried international products. So my Dad would get his bottle of Four Roses bourbon and I would walk away with my peanut butter jar. This was back in the sixties and things have changed a lot, now you can find any imaginable product you may want in many stores but back then it was a treat!. Casa Claudio was established in 1889 and it has one of the best wine and liquor selections in the city, apart from many delicatessen products.

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