Nama, Legendary Department Store Chain, Celebrates Birthday

Total Croatia News

Long before modern shopping centres, everybody shopped at Nama.

At the time when most shops offered just a limited range of products, it was a symbol of luxury and great shopping experience. Everybody came to buy everything at Nama, the largest Croatian chain of department stores, which was at its height of popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, reports Večernji List on February 18, 2018.

The chain consisted of eight department stores in Zagreb but, after the 1990s crisis, only two outlets, at the Kvaternik Square and in the Ilica Street, remained open. However, for its former employees, Nama is still something special, so as many as 150 of them gathered recently to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Nama store at the Kvaternik Square, where they spent the majority of their careers.

They were mostly members of the generation who worked at the store since its opening and who are now retired. When the old colleagues and friends met, they immediately started remembering the past. “Young people today only go to shopping malls, but in our Nama, you could literally buy everything. We were the most modern store in the whole city, and we were the first to have moving escalators. Everyone came to try them out,” says 79-year-old Boris Stepinac, who spent 27 years working at the store.

He added that they always followed the latest trends, and the employees even received additional training in Germany. On some days, more than 10,000 customers would visit the store, but now it is nowhere near as popular. Still, he proudly says that he never bought his clothes anywhere else except at Nama.

“People think Konzum is strong, but that is nothing compared to Nama in the 1980s,” says Ante Marković, who was the first director of Nama and who also came to socialise with his former employees. Among them was Nada Stojnić, who also remembers well the most successful days of her company.

“We had a turnover which no one can reach today. At the end of each day, we would have bags full of money,” Stojnić recalls, who came to the store after finishing high school when she was just 18 years old. She remained there for 32 years, working at the clothing and perfumery department, but like many of her colleagues, she had to leave when Nama went into bankruptcy. Some retired immediately, while others continued working elsewhere for several more years. “It was the most beautiful place I can remember. It was not just business; we had parties, went on excursions, people were falling in love…”, says Stojnić.

This is confirmed by Vladimir Granić, who met his wife Mira at Nama. “One day she got transferred from another store to ours. As soon as I saw her, I knew she was going to be my wife,” recalls 71-year-old Granić.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Stela Lechpammer).


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