I've never much liked Orphanides, one of the big supermarket chains in Cyprus. I haven't been to the big one for years now; I found the layout disturbing, the prices high, and the lighting migraine-inducing.
But we have used the small local one for odds and ends in between big supermarket shopping trips, just because it's five minutes' walk away. I've appreciated it, and the staff have been pleasant and friendly. I popped there maybe once a week, on average, for something small.
I speak in the past tense because, a couple of weeks before Christmas, I noticed that stock seemed to be surprisingly low at the our local Orphanides Express. My gut feeling was that perhaps it wouldn't stay open too long. Sure enough, an official announcement was made that the company was in huge trouble financially, and eleven of the stores island-wide would be closing.
A day later I noticed that our local branch's Christmas tree had disappeared:
About a week before Christmas, it was completely closed. I did go up to the door once, seeing a couple of cars parked outside, but there were only a few staff inside, one of whom gestured to me that it was closed to the public.
We heard from other people that the big Orphanides store was still open; it made sense, we supposed, for the smaller shops to move their stock to the bigger one, to sell it off. Deals were discussed, and - we gathered - turned down. I felt sorry for the many staff who were losing their jobs, but couldn't really feel that Orphanides was a huge loss. Its closure would mean more trade for the other shops, and I did notice that our local Achna Discount mini-market seemed to be getting regular supplies of new stock more often than usual.
Then today, I learned that our local Orphanides Express was open again. I popped in, looking for a couple of items, neither of which I found - but in addition to regular items on the shelves, there were fresh fruit and veg, meat and dairy products. It wasn't back to full stock, by any means, but certainly seemed to be almost back to normal.
It will be interesting to see what transpires in the next few weeks.