A new verdict threatens Berlin’s Späti-culture — and the livelihood of the owners.
Spätis are no longer allowed to open on Sundays, according to a recent landmark decision by Berlin’s administrative court. The only exception applies to shops offering products for tourists’ needs or for immediate consumption. Bad news for the little neighbourhood shops: Sundays are usually their most profitable day. But Germany’s regulations regarding shopping hours are strict, giving what many see as an unfair advantage to large-scale businesses and conglomerates such as gas stations.
Spätis are also threatened by the rising pressure of exploitation in the real estate market. With their commercial tenancy contracts they are in an even more precarious situation than other tenants in Berlin. One current example is the Oranienspäti of Zekiye and Sakir Tunc.
The Tunc family have been fighting for their Späti, a mainstay in the busy area, for a long time. They’re supported by activists such as Ora Nostra and Bizim Kiez, as well as local MPs. But apparently to no avail: before the end of this month, the little Spätkauf on Kreuzberg’s Oranienstraße is to be evicted.
Translated by Aida Baghernejad