Shopping on Ibiza has seen something of a transformation since the arrival of tourism forty or so years ago. In those days the term shopping meant a day trip by horse and cart to the ‘ferreteria’ in the village to pick up essential tools for the smallholding. This would be followed by a chance meeting at a nearby bar with a few rarely seen friends to compare farming tips and quench the thirst.
Meanwhile the good lady would labour her way across the valley to the nearest grocers and back again with the few essentials you didn’t grow yourself.
Tourism began with the hippies, who the locals thought were a bit lazy, as they toiled away in their fields. However, the hippies had a few entrepreneurs in their midst. They set up markets selling clothing and jewellery that they’d bought cheaply on their travels and sold it to the growing numbers of tourists visiting Ibiza. Nowadays a trip to Ibiza without visiting the now huge hippy markets is unheard of
Tourism brought a lot of money to the island as a whole and poor locals are thin on the ground. To serve this suddenly rich population a bewildering array of high quality shops have sprung up or opened branches here, particularly in Ibiza town centre.
The local government was recently forced to revoke protection laws allowing some of the larger national chain stores to open branches here, following years of policies designed to prevent competition with locally owned businesses.
The upside is that those of us who live here may finally benefit from prices that are slightly closer to those enjoyed by the rest of the people who live on the mainland…