(Greece) – Eleftheroudakis, the largest bookstore in Greece, is scheduled to close for good on September 30, 2016. The chain, which has around 118 years of history and is the country’s oldest bookstore, was hard hit by Greece’s economic crisis. Originally opened for the first time in 1898 with a shop in Syntagma Square, the chain eventually grew into the largest bookstore chain in Greece. In 1995, the chain’s flagship store on Panepistimiou Avenue in Athens, Greece opened.
The Eleftheroudakis family said in a statement that, “Friday, September 30, 2016 marks an end and also a new beginning. We are closing our bookstore and we are thinking outside the box. We are preparing our next ‘bookshop’, but we will not do it as long as there is not a positive and stable business environment in our country.” It is the flagship location that will be closing.
Sofia Eleftheroudakis went on to explain that they were especially hard hit by the capital controls that were introduced in Greece in the summer of 2015. Although the banks have eased their controls somewhat, it wasn’t enough. The economy had taken its toll on the company and now they’re scheduled to close their doors at the end of the month. The family has said that the Eleftheroudakis bookstores had 24 million euros turnover in 2008 and a half a million in turnover last year. From 2008 to the present, the company also reduced the amount of employees they had from 130 to 10. Although the chain will be closing down their stores, the company isn’t closing completely. Sofia Eleftheroudakis has said that they plan on focusing on building their company online.
Eleftheroudakis isn’t the online bookseller that has been hit hard by Greece’s economic difficulties. Estia, a bookstore that had been open for 128 years, closed in 2013. In fact, since 2008, over 400 large bookstores and smaller book companies have closed. There are roughly 1500 bookstores left, and most of them are struggling.