Klek shop owners are some of the first enterprising spirits after the fall of communism. When communism fell and private ownership of production was permitted, these were one of the first small businesses to appear. Basements were turned into small shops, catering the passing citizens for drinks, snacks, alcohol and cigarettes. From the humble position of the cellar, looking out to peoples shoes and legs, the klek shop owners embraced, literally, a different view.
Klek shop means literally “knee shop”, as the sales window is situated at the level of the pavement. This makes that buying at such a shop has something humbling too, as we have to stoop in front of the seller and order our bottle of beer. When we kneel down our view becomes that of the klek shop owner. We are surrounded by rushing legs and shoes, a dog, a walking stick. Our eyes peep into the square window. And then, shoes, legs, dogs, and walking sticks disappear as four eyes meet.
People say that almost every street had its klek shop at a certain moment. Now they are slowly disappearing. The ones that remain, remind us of change, of different views, of survival, and of the need to adapt. Monuments of transition.
I aim to write from the klek shops view. From the humble position of embracing a different view, kneeling down, peeping, to finally meet those eyes that have been looking out all the time.