Tallinn government opens cheap shop

Järgmisel kolmapäeval avatakse senisel Lasnamäe turul Tallinna soodsaimate hindadega linnapood.

PHOTO: Erik Prozes

With all festivity, at Punane St in Lasnamäe this Wednesday, Tallinn city government is opening a municipal shop offering lowest prices while washing away the shame of the flop with Lasnamäe open marketplace, by granting the useless facilities a fresh function.

The municipal shop called Lipo is managed by Tiia-Liis Jürgenson, head of Tallinna Turud (Tallinn Marketplaces – edit). Her face shows the signs of many a sleepless night. «The second shop I’ll open with my eyes closed, I now know it all. The first one came hard, I had no experience,» admits Ms Jürgenson.

To begin with, the city government proclaimed a procurement to find a shopkeeper, but the retail chains in Tallinn ignored it as one man. Thus, the task went to Tallinna Turud also overseeing the Nõmme Marketplace, Mustamäe Marketplace, the fish market and the flower market.  

Uncharacteristically for today, the new shop will work «over the counter». There’ll be eight shop assistants, plus a senior shop assistant and those working at the storing area at the back. And then the manager, who hasn’t been appointed yet.

The cheapest prices will be achieved by constant monitoring of competitors. «At the moment, our consumer protection people are walking the stores of the five major retail chains and are writing down all the prices. On Monday (today – edit) I will have an overview of the prices, so we’ll have ours 10–15 percent down,» promised vice mayor Arvo Sarapuu, in charge of entrepreneurship in the city.

In any case an always, 34 products – 30 food items and four convenience goods – will be 10–15 percent cheaper than elsewhere. «With the rest of the goods we will have to think, so the price level would be cheap and competitive. But 30 + 4 purchasing basket will definitely be the cheapest in town,» assured Mr Sarapuu.

«Naturally, we will try to be wallet-friendly with all other product classes as well. Meaning that we will have to find products that least privileged families can afford,» added Ms Jürgenson.

At the gate to the shop, the sign Lasnamäe Market (Lasnamäe turg) is still hanging. Not out of carelessness – under a canopy, an attempt at market economy is still underway.

In the pavilion in the middle, there will be food aid. «If the shop has stuff left over and the use-before date is approaching, we will contact Lasnamäe city district government and their social department will send those who need help, or the social workers come and fetch the goods and take them to the people,» explained Ms Jürgenson.

In the third pavilion, fish is being sold. In the dreary history of the market, this is the only somewhat surviving pavilion.

Excited by the success of the restored Nõmme Marketplace, the city government was all worked up to have one in Lasnamäe as well. The plan was a resounding failure. To a forsaken area at Punane St, no one wanted to come – not to sell, not to buy.  

That was no reason to stop the enthusiastic Centre Party city fathers. Three pavilions were erected anyway. On opening day, the place was flush with people – but already then, many elderly confessed to only have come for Day One benefits, never to show up again. Proved true. After a couple attempts to resuscitate the market, it gave up the ghost. Now it’s time to try a municipal shop with cheapest prices in town.