Grøn's store, Holmens Kanal

A whole new way of shopping

Grøns Varepakhus-1
PHOTO: Thomas Roland
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In 1863, the firm of M.E. Grøn opened a dry goods depot. In spite of its unassuming name, it was anything but a dingy warehouse. This was Denmark's first department store. The showy exterior was Renaissance-style, with an elegant interior daylit by large windows and skylights. The inspiration for the store came from England. This was a new way of selling mass-produced drapery goods and a precursor of the latter-day emporium. Technically, Grøn's store was very advanced, with its hydraulic lift, central heating and its system of speaking tubes in its iron pillars.

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A modern department store

For the grand opening, a leading Danish illustrated weekly featured a gushing description of the store. The ground floor is mostly occupied by a service area, which like the other areas, is abundantly well-lit not only through the windows on all sides, but also via a pair of lightwells intersecting all floors, and topped off with thick, matt sheet glass. A wide and handsome staircase leads to the 1st floor whose expansive interior is wholly devoted to drapery goods, arranged along the sides on shelving and closely arrayed benches so as to afford a panorama of all goods from any vantage point. From the 2nd floor, where all merchandise is arranged in the same expedient manner, a staircase ascends to the 3rd floor". "