At Epicerie Melita, familiarity is still a priority: for over 20 years, Amelia Gomes has been serving not only the country's Portuguese customers, but also students and residents of the multicultural railway station district.
"An Italian gentleman comes here every day to buy his baguette and then waits for me to come out of the warehouse to greet him. I have many customers like that, they are the daily sunshine in my shop." It is a lively neighbourhood where Amelia Gomes has been selling her goods for over 20 years. Today's Epicerie Melita has existed for over 60 years, because before Amelia's parents-in-law took over the small shop on the corner of Rue d'Anvers and Rue Adolphe Fischer, the residents of the railway station district in the capital already used to shop here.
"In the beginning, it was an Italian grocery shop. The idea to continue with Portuguese products came from my husband's parents. I actually wanted to open a tea salon, but then I let myself be carried away by them", Amelia recalls. The name of her shop is a tribute to herself, because the Portuguese-born Amelia is affectionately called Melita by her friends and acquaintances. For six years, she ran the shop together with her family, after which Amelia took over the helm herself.
A multicultural neighbourhood
The shopkeeper remembers the beginnings as if it were yesterday: "In the beginning, we didn't have much money and only worked with what we already had. The shelves in the shop were all old and dirty, and one time when we were cleaning them outside, a lady came by – from the Kieffer family, who ran a fashion shop in town – and gave us some of hers. I was very touched by that." Amelia loves the neighbourhood surrounding her 120-square-metre shop. Her children went to school here, the people are friendly and there is a colourful mix of nationalities that come through her door. Latter include many of the 94,300 Portuguese residents in Luxembourg, according to the Statec statistics office (as of 2021), who live in municipalities such as Larochette or Esch-sur-Alzette, as well as in the city centre of Luxembourg itself.
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