A vial of Danish beard oil that smells of ylang ylang and lavender (€20). A small glass terrarium containing carnivorous plants (€24). A €25 picnic blanket that comes with detailed instructions on how to use the blanket (“Spread it out as ground cover”). A €34 bucket. These are but a few of the treasures to be found at Hallesches Haus, a self-proclaimed “general store” aimed at those of us who, overwhelmed by our digital world, wish to pay inordinate amounts of money to pretend we live in a time before electricity.
Needless to say, there are Americans involved. Opened in March, the store is the brainchild of former design start-up employees Jillian May, Michelle Casciolo and Oliver Cayless, two Yanks and a Brit who turned the ground floor of the grandiose former post office opposite Hallesches Tor into a spacious, rustic wonderland of artisanal ‘necessities’.
Will Kreuzbergers buy in? The trio’s hedging their bets by holding pop-up brunches, scheduling Thursday open-air movie nights in their court-yard and turning the back room into a lunch restaurant, opening this month. They’ve also got a café in the middle of the store.
If you sit there long enough, sipping locally roasted coffee (from Tom’s in Krumme Lanke, €1.80), nibbling a “jalapeño-cheddar biscuit” (non-Americans, think “scone”, €2) and listening to Mumfordish folk while gazing at the wares around you, you may indeed start wistfully picturing yourself living off the land in a remote wooden cabin, maybe somewhere in Brandenburg – a feeling you can recreate at home with €18 campfire-scented incense.
Originally published in issue #139, June 2015.