Thuringia: Land gives one million euros for new village shops

They are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and largely do without staff: digital village shops.

Thuringia: Land gives one million euros for new village shops

They are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and largely do without staff: digital village shops. A sales concept that definitely works in rural Thuringia. Nevertheless, interest in funding has waned.

Erfurt (dpa/th) - Thuringia is promoting five new village shops this year, which should be open around the clock. One million euros would be made available for this, as a spokesman for the Ministry of Infrastructure told the German Press Agency. The approved projects include shops in Tonndorf (Weimarer Land), Görsbach (Nordhausen district), Treffurt (Wartburg district), Leubingen and Haßleben (both in the Sömmerda district).

There were originally 13 applications for funding, mainly from local authorities, for new 24-hour village shops. According to the ministry, five of these were withdrawn because either the necessary documents could not be completed or the municipalities did not consider the implementation of the respective project to be realistic. Three applications were not approved, it said. In the selection process, among other things, the distance to the nearest shop or sustainability aspects such as the installation of solar systems were taken into account.

Interest in promoting such digital village shops, in which customers scan their purchases and pay with a bank card, has thus fallen noticeably in Thuringia. According to the ministry, 27 applications were received last year, from which the construction of 16 village shops and vending machines throughout Thuringia was supported with state funds. The promotion of 24-hour village shops was launched again this year at the urging of the CDU parliamentary group.

The Ministry pointed out that there is another funding program for the development of rural areas with a similar content. This will run until the end of 2023 and will continue beyond that. For this funding program, applications for village shops could therefore continue to be made. According to the ministry, since 2015 the Free State has supported almost 50 village and farm shops as well as vending machines in almost all districts, thereby helping to improve local supply in the countryside. In Thuringia, the majority of people live in rural areas.

The first digital 24-hour village shop in Thuringia opened in Altengottern (Unstrut-Hainich district) in 2020. If you want to shop in such shops, you have to register beforehand. Access is via a chip card. Since payment is made at self-service checkouts, these shops only need a few staff to fill the shelves and clean, for example.

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