Migros bus – when grocery stores had wheels

November 13, 2016 — No comments

From 1925 to 2007, Swiss Migros cooperative grocery stores ran a program to sell groceries from specialty built buses throughout Switzerland. It started with five rolling bus-stores in the summer of 1925 that must have felt more like market stalls according to the old pictures. In its hey days in the sixties, 144 rolling buses criss-crossed the Swiss landscape and enticed housewives up and down the land to shop close to their door step.

Under the title “Weisch-no” (remember?), on September 8, 2016, one Migros bus started its rounds one more time. It was a one-time revival tour under the heading “from us, from here”. The bus visited twenty of the previous stops throughout Switzerland on this tour and many of the original customers, now with their grandchildren, had a great time going down memory lane, shopping current products. Needless to say, the tour was a big success, but regretfully, Migros can’t be persuaded to start the buses again! For a little nostalgia, you can watch the 2:55 minute long Migros commercial video of the bus tour.

In the early days, there was little more than pasta, sugar, coffee, rice, coconut oil and soap on the shelves. The necessities of life! The program was a big success, expanded quickly and the buses become more sophisticated. By the time my mother sent me shopping as a ten-year old on my half day off from school on Wednesday afternoons (I still went to class on Saturday mornings), the interior resembled a miniature grocery aisle. Well lit and tightly shelved with room for one person, I did my shopping according to Mom’s list and payed at the cash register on my way out. The green buses with the signature orange “M” were a familiar sight throughout the country, but like many good ideas, it had its zenith and eventually grew out of fashion. By 2007 the buses had all but disappeared and the program was stopped. For a short history of the “good old’ rolling Migros bus days”, watch the video in the sidebar.

Do let me know if you have any memories of shopping in the rolling Migros bus in Switzerland! And from what location?  Leave your comments below.

About Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust

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Switzerland travel enthusiast. Cat lover, bicyclist and classical music fan. I prefer walking over running and enjoy a good Swiss card game of Jass among friends.  More about Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust »

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Additional Information

Migros is a major retail organization in Switzerland today. In 1925, the company was started in the city of Zurich when five grocery buses rolled out of the backyard of the post office on the Limmat Quai. Gottlieb Duttweiler, its innovative and visionary founder, changed the organization into a cooperative in the spring of 1941.

Rolling Migros Bus

By 1948, Migros opened the first self-serve grocery store and two years later, counts 15 locations across the city of Zurich. To trace more of Migros interesting history, click here:

https://www.migros.ch/de/geschichte.html

Migros Zurich first self-serve store

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