Konstantinos (Kostas) Kanakis, along with his wife Calliope, are the owners of a historic shop situated on the main road of Leonidio in Arcadia, Peloponnese, which is considered to be the oldest store in Greece, remaining on the same spot for around 200 consecutive years.
According to Kostas and Calliope, “although, the first official license of the business came out in 1874 under the name of Cosmas Roussalis, the shop seems to have been standing on the same spot for many more years than that. Based on several family documents, we believe that the store first opened its doors before the Greek War of Independence of 1821 and is probably the oldest shop in the country”.
The structure itself is a beautiful neoclassical building. Roussalis, the person who officially founded the store in the 19th century, has his initials inscribed on the outside of the building as well.
Kostas and his wife are both locals. Visitors can choose among a great variety of unique products inside the shop, from haberdashery and clothing, mattresses and traditional Greek folk costumes to impressive historical relics and other rare documents.
“Nowadays, we create our own traditional Greek folk costumes using an old Singer sewing machine and paying special attention to the quality of the fabrics and the harmony of the combined colors. In the past, we used to sell fine quality shirts which were offered in wooden boxes, and delicious coffee that was delivered straight from Brazil to Leonidio,” Kostas Kanakis explains.