Abdicated: Kaiser’s supermarket

Filed 4/12/2015 | Updated 10/8/2016
It’s the end of the world as we know it. The. End. Of. The. World. Everything’s gone, everything. Not a scrap remains. The shelves are cleared, the tills empty, the aisles redundant. Even the shelves and tills and aisles are gone. There literally isn’t a sausage left. There’s no money and no one to take your money. Capitalism is dead. Consumerism has consumed itself. It’s the end of the world.
Well, it’s an abandoned supermarket, but perhaps we should heed its warning. Check out the checkouts, there are none. All is clearly not as it should be in the re(t)a(i)l world.
“It was a Kaiser’s,” said the woman outside whose dog was trying to hump my leg.
“It’s been closed for ten years,” said her daughter (I presume) whose dog was well-behaved or had already just humped someone else’s leg.
“Longer than ten years!” snorted the woman. “It only held out for about a year after the Zentrum (Schöneweide) opened.”
So there was the reason. The Schöneweiders weren’t happy enough with a mere supermarket anymore once the big shiny shopping center with 20,000 square meters of retail space, 750 parking spaces and 45 “diverse” shops opened up.
Zentrum Schöneweide now “presents” the weather on Flux FM, so you’ll know who to blame the next time there’s a shitty day. They could be presenting nice weather but of course nice weather isn’t good for shopping centers – they’ll do anything to get you inside their doors.
Once Zentrum Schöneweide opened up, the Kaiser’s simply had to abdicate.
Incidentally, Kaiser’s used not have an apostrophe in its name. It was simply Kaisers up to a few years ago and then suddenly the apostrophe, or rather a dot, appeared between the R and the S. It’s as if they acknowledged they spelled their own name wrong by spelling it wrong again. For of course there’s no possessive apostrophe in German.
If it had been the Kaiser’s actual supermarket then it should be Kaisers. The only reason you’d have an apostrophe in German is if a letter’s missing, if they were trying to say “Kaiser es,” but that wouldn’t make any sense at all, especially as they hadn’t said that in the first place.
Well, if they’re incapable of spelling their name correctly it’s hardly a surprise they couldn’t keep an old supermarket going.
It had been going fine through the GDR days, when it served Schöneweiders as a HO Einzelhandel Waren täglicher Bedarf (daily goods store). HO is short for Handelsorganisation or Trade Organization, East Germany’s publically owned state retail company formed in 1948.
City shoppers had a choice between HOs or the cooperative Konsum shops. There were Dorfkonsums for country bumpkins. Prices were fixed across the board so there wasn’t much competition, though different shops could vary their product ranges somewhat.
They’re all gone now, not just the one in Schöneweide. Mauerfall instigated the great country Schlussverkauf. Everything sold for pittance, workers fired for riddance, assets stripped through greed, enterprises left to bleed. The conquerors came from the West and they took no prisoners. For their victims it really was the end of the world. Sold over and out.
UPDATE: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 – There’s nothing left, it’s completely gone. Rubble is all you’ll find there now before that too is cleared for the inevitable construction work to start.
See the photo to the right. All others were obviously taken before it was knocked down.
Abandoned supermarket. Once a Kaiser’s, previously a GDR store with normal day-to-day stuff. Now gone.

Flutstraße 5, Niederschöneweide, 12439 Berlin

How to get there
Get on your bike and cycle if you want to mourn at the site of the supermarket’s passing. Lazy people or people who have just had their bicycles stolen can take the train. The S8 and S9 (to Schönefeld airport) S-Bahns go to S-Bhf Schöneweide, from which it’s just a short walk. Cross the busy street once you come out of the station, try and find Schnellerstraße (almost parallel to the busy road on your right), and take your first left onto Flutstraße. The not-so-super-anymore-market was down a short bit on your right. Here it is on a map so you don
t get lost.
Once you’re done mourning, wander down Flutstraße and you’ll find another site worth exploring just across the road.
Getting in
Don’t bother.

When to go

Anytime or never.

Difficulty rating
10/10. Impossible unless you have a time machine. Let me know if you do.

Who to bring

If your other half drags you kicking and screaming shopping with them all the time, bring them here for revenge. Tell them you found a great shop that you know they’ll love. And if your partner drags you kicking and screaming shopping with them all the time, what the hell are you doing with them?! This is the place to break up.

What to bring
There was a time you could bring a few shopping trolleys and have shopping trolley races around the shop floor. Those times are gone unfortunately. I guess you can just go up to the Zentrum Schöneweide and have shopping trolley races there. It would serve them right.
Otherwise bring the usual things: beer, pistachio nuts, beer, wine, good rum, mint leaves, limes, brown sugar, soda water and ice. And beer. Don’t forget the beer. There’s nothing else to do.


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Hey dude! I may be in CZ now, but hopefully I am allowed (aloud) to make donutary comment from time to time. Like how much fun the German language is without possessive punctuation. Not at all too amusing until you are in F'hain at a bar called Anu. Now, they could advertise their cocktails suchlike: Cocktails bei Anu. Nossir. They've got a sign in big letters listing all of their special ANUS COCKTAILS. I don't even want to IMAGINE how those are shaken and stirred. Brrrrrrrbllllgghhh.


This supermarket with a sales area of 1070 m² was opened in 1980 on Wednesday, March 26th by Günter Scheel (not the guy mentioned in Wikipedia and possibly not even related to the singing Federal President), then-mayor of Treptow borough. It was aimed to supply about 5200 citizens in the Niederschöneweide district and it was the borough's fifth newly built supermarket since 1974. Thus far the smal notice of eleven lines in Neues Deutschland.

Kaiser's is being demolished as we speak, there was not much of it left last week and bulldosers were at work :(

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