Grocery stores and warehouses have played an extremely important role in socio-economic relations of Brazilian cities in the early twentieth century. Those spaces used to guarantee a number of food items and other products that came to serve the community, such as tools, utensils, beverages, and personal care products.
The dynamics of these stores are an interesting point to observe: the products were arranged behind a counter: only the seller had access to them. Back then, a curious system of credit was used: buying on credit was a habit regulated by a book where the owner managed the sales of the products and their customers’ accounts; this system of credit was used on the reliability of the owner-client relationship.
There were two produce stores in Carambei colony in the first half of the twentieth century. Both of them played important roles in supplying food and daily use products. On Saturday nights, single young men: who lived in the colony or worked for the railway company, used to come to these stores to buy beer, which they called “flüssige Brot” (liquid bread in German), wine, and cigarettes. They used to sing, tell stories, jokes, and also interact with young people from different ethnic groups.
“Sorgenfrei”, which comes from German meaning “free of worry”, is a tribute to Mr. George Schmidt, a friendly German who used to animate Saturday nights.