Kiosk in Barcelona: five Spaniards rely on booths for millennials

The idea arose at a newspaper kiosk, where else. It was in 2020, during the first wave of the corona pandemic in Barcelona, ​​when you were only allowed to leave the apartment at a certain time of the day during the strict curfew, depending on the age group. A few minutes’ walk to exercise were allowed, as well as going to the supermarket, the pharmacy and, of course, the newspaper kiosk.

“We met there, stood together a little, talked,” says Lucas de Gispert. He soon asked himself what it would be like if you could get good coffee at the kiosk, says the 28-year-old. If a newspaper kiosk weren’t just a place to rush past on normal days on the way to the subway. But one who makes everyday life a little nicer. This is how the idea of ​​”Good News” came about. Lucas de Gispert is one of the five founders of the brand, which is a reinvention of the traditional Spanish newspaper kiosk.

One thing is immediately noticeable when you walk through the streets of Barcelona: The “Good News” kiosks look different from other newspaper kiosks in Spanish cities. The sage green awning with the white lettering, the light wood, the tidy shelves and of course the friendly smiley, the trademark of “Good News”. The products sold are not sugary soft drinks and tortilla chips, but kombucha, fair trade oat bars and organic coffee. The only thing they have in common is the newspapers and magazines in the display. But here, too, the range differs: In “Good News” there are no Sudoku books in addition to the daily press, but the lifestyle magazines Art & Decoration, the Vogue and Monocle. One thing is clear: a young, urban audience is being addressed here. The very people who usually just rush past other kiosks. But how do you get millennials to stop at a newspaper kiosk?

Those who had good news in store got the coffee at half the price

“Good News wants to bring a good mood to the district,” says Lucas de Gispert. The young lawyer and four of his friends got serious about their idea in the summer of 2020: They took over their first kiosk – the number of newspaper kiosks in Spain is regulated by licensing – and redecorated it according to their ideas. When they had cleared everything out, there was even room for a potted plant inside. And they came up with an advertising campaign that apparently came at just the right time: anyone who told the seller good news got their coffee at half the price.

The grandfather who survived Covid. The new job. The first shared apartment with the girlfriend. Anna, the saleswoman in the kiosk on Avinguda Diagonal in Barcelona, ​​remembers some of the stories that customers told her to this day. Some of them became regular customers. Many of them come every day for their newspaper and a coffee, not just millennials, but also those wearing suits from the surrounding offices. There are now nine kiosks in Barcelona and three more in Madrid.

The concept seems to be working. “Good News” relies on an industry that has been dying for years. The newspaper kiosk has been an institution in Spain since the 19th century. But since reading the news mainly on the screen, the industry has suffered. The association of kiosk owners ANVP calculates that the density of newspaper kiosks in Spain is decreasing from year to year. Many owners give up or can no longer find a successor. Gone are the days when a kiosk was passed on from generation to generation.

In the pandemic, the kiosk became the center of the district again

“The kiosks have to reinvent themselves so they don’t die,” says Lucas de Gispert. But be natural kiosk a tough job. In any case, he could empathize with the proverbial bad mood that the profession is said to be in Spain. “The kiosks are the ones who are the first on the streets in the morning and the last to lock up in the evening, “says de Gispert. Enclosed in their ten-square-meter cubicle, they defy the heat in summer and the cold in winter.” You can get in a bad mood . “

The young founders of “Good News” still sense potential in Spanish kiosk culture. During the pandemic, the kiosks became vital for many people, says Lucas de Gispert. Because many other activities were not possible, the kiosks suddenly returned to the function they had before the advent of social media: this was where people met, chatted and heard the latest news. And yes, you bought your daily newspaper there too. Subscriptions have always played a subordinate role in the Spanish press landscape. The older generation, in particular, usually pays a visit to the newspaper kiosk on the next street corner every morning and gets their master sheet there. But as a subscriber you also have the choice of whether you want your newspaper in your mailbox or whether you prefer to pick it up at the kiosk.

It is therefore not without good reason that the industry sees its greatest threat in the newspapers’ digital offensives. Spain kiosks fear that they will lose even more customers if more and more people take out digital subscriptions. In the current year, press products only account for 50 percent of sales at Spanish kiosks. In 2012 it was 90 percent, reports the industry association ANVP. The founders of “Good News”, however, have good news ready: Sales of newspapers and magazines at their kiosks have doubled compared to before. What a little white color and a good mood can do.

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