Sunday, March 13, 2011

De Zikel (Marba) Building, The First Retail Shop in Semarang

An illustration made by Frits van Bemmel around 1930 depicting the crowd on the old model of self-service stores in East-Indies. (source:
The Kota Lama (eng: old town) of Semarang, always be very attractive for everybody. We could enjoy the old atmoshphere of living, but for sure not only that, for film-maker, this area also have their own values. Some films which need a scenery of the old-fashioned era, always use this area too as their set. An Indonesian film, such Gie, Punk in Love, Ayat-Ayat Cinta and Merah Putih, are using this Semarang old-quarter as their set. In every scene were taken at that area, this building are never missed being filmed. Two stories building, with red bricks and wide windows, Marba building has its own uniqueness and for sure, the stories behind it.

De Zikel Stores on 1920 (source: Leiden University Library)
Built in the mid-nineteenth century, and its located in the front of Srigunting Park, and its quite near also from Koepelkerk (Blenduk Church). This built around in the middle of the nineteenth centuryThis building was originally used as a shipping business office. Later, this building used as a retail stores the leading at that timeA lots of people said that De Zikel is the first retails stores that adopted self-service shopping models in Semarang. Its cut-off the old ways of shopping where the consumers would be helped by the shopping assistant to choose or wrapped their goods. These practices were by nature very labor-intensive and therefore also quite expensive. The shopping process was slow, as the number of customers who could be attended to at one time was limited by the number of staff employed in the store. Thats why the model of self-service shopping getting famous in the early of 20th century but historically, there was debate about the origin of the self-service stores, with King Kullen and Ralph's of California having strong claims. Other contenders included Weingarten's Big Food Markets and Henke & Pillot (source:wikipedia). Later, the building were owned by Marta Badjunet, an Yemenite who was also a wealthy merchant at that time. To marked this, then it was renamed after his name stands, Marba until now. 

De Zikel or Marba Building on 2008.
Well In the past, every city even every parts of the city sometimes marked by the famous stores in the neigborhood . Like in the city where I born, Purworejo, the Toko(eng: stores) Air Mancur, is one’s of the famous stores in 90 decades and here, in Semarang maybe is like Toko Nambie, still existed till nowadays. Those stores are become a such icon in a neigborhood. It could be occured when this business isnt controlled by franchised company that spread out all over the countries. If the franchised company have a standarization then make it as same as the others, but once the stores has its own speciality, make it differs from others and unique as well. 

Yap it supposed to be like that, but unfortunatelly here in Marba the building were neglected. It just used as a warehouse, and an office for a company which engaged in shipping goods. But for the condition of the building, it can be said that this one is better, compared with the common condition of the old building surround it. Well, wish the government or any company who wanna restored this and make it as great as its reputation in the past. As the first supermarket in Semarang, hopefully. 

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