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Rafael and Concepción Romero, father and daughter, at the door of the store. Miguel Fernández
One of the oldest liquor stores on the Costa del Sol closes after nearly 80 years

One of the oldest liquor stores on the Costa del Sol closes after nearly 80 years

Romero in Torremolinos was famous for its huge collection of miniature bottles and attracted customers from far and wide

Juan Soto

Malaga

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

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The Romero liquor store, one of the oldest on the Costa del Sol, has closed its doors after almost 80 years. Concepción, the current owner of the historic shop, which opened in 1943 in Calle San Miguel in Torremolinos, has decided to retire at just 58 years of age, and pursue something new in her life.

The family business was first opened by Antonio Romero and Concepción Quesada. At first it was a shop, a grocery store, where you could buy a bit of everything, but over the years it evolved into the Romero liquor store.

Rafael Romero, the third of the couple's four children, started working in the establishment when he was only six years old. Now retired, he recalled that in 1962 they completed a major renovation and turned it into a supermarket, the first one in Torremolinos, he said.

Photo of the Romero family during the inauguration of the supermarket in 1962. SUR

Rafael said that initially they sold almost everything; fruit, vegetables, hardware, perfumes, cigarettes, liquor and drinks in bulk.

In those early years there was hardly any tourism and the buyers were mainly fishermen and people from the countryside. Later, with the arrival of tourism and the development of the area in the mid-1970s, trade changed and they decided to focus on products that were most in demand. The change to a liquor store took place in 2000, the year in which Rafael retired and his daughter Concepción Romero joined the business.

They specialised in drinks, liquors and souvenirs. They also had some food, but the store was renowned for its vast collection of liquor. They had, among others, a collection of about 400 miniatures.

"Many people came just to take pictures," Concepción said. The fame spread beyond the province where clients as far as Madrid, San Sebastián and Barcelona started to arrive.

Rafael remembered a brand of Japanese sake that had a lizard inside, a drink prepared by the Solis de Cuenca house, or a gold liqueur made by the Dutch company, Bolt.

"Miniatures have always been very popular and people bought them to collect them," Concepción said.

Despite being only 58 years old, Concepción said that from the first moment she started working in the store, it was clear to her that she wanted to retire young.

“I want to be able to enjoy life, which can be gone in a moment. I have been working for 45 years and I have decided to change my life a little,” she said.

A few days before the closure, the Romero family received recognition from the town council. Mayor Margarita del Cid handed over a plaque and thanked them for the work they have done for the community.

"Thank you for choosing us, for recommending our products to your friends and family, for making us feel part of your celebrations and for welcoming us as one of this beautiful family,” Concepción said.

The store, which still belongs to the family, has been leased to a Vietnamese company that will set it up a retail store.

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