It's a family affair

By Sarah RaparoliLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Becoming self-employed is no walk in the park. Staying self-employed is just as difficult. Ava and Elmira Najafi, who run one of the most traditional bookshops in the capital, talk about saving their own business.

"That's just what I needed, today of all days." Elmira Najafi comes out from the back of the light-flooded premises. "We have a burst pipe." But, she says, we can still conduct the interview. "It'll be fine, " she says, pulling her shoulders up. A mantra that many self-employed people probably live by. Or as Olliewood owner Dan Gantrel aptly put it to the Lëtzebuerger Journal in early 2021: "A pessimist very rarely becomes an entrepreneur."

In the case of the Alinéa bookshop, "it'll work out" was not quite so easy. From 1997 until last May, the address was still 5, Rue Beaumont. Now we are standing in the "new" Alinéa at 30, rue des Capucins, a minute's walk – or exactly 40 metres, according to Elmira. "Yes, I measured it. It's exactly 40 metres and those 40 metres have changed everything, " she replies, looking over at her sister Ava as they both grin. It was about time, because the history of this traditional business is anything but marked by consistent success.

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