Customers say sayonara to a convenience store icon at a very unusual location.

Japan has a lot of Family Mart convenience stores dotted around the country, but have you ever wondered which one is the smallest of them all?

That accolade goes to the Family Mart located on Platform 1 at Tsuruhashi Station in Osaka. Well, it did until the end of May, because that’s when the store officially closed its shutters for good.

The closure took many by surprise, with commuters spotting a notice on the window of the store just days before its final day of business on 31 May. The below photos, taken by Twitter user @miiko35504411 on 30 May, show the notice, which reads:

“Notice of store closure. We will be closing this store at 9 a.m. on 31 May. We are sincerely grateful for your patronage over the years. Thank you.”

The notice was signed off by Kintetsu Retailing Company’s “Family Mart Kintetsu Tsuruhashi Station Platform 1 East Store“. As the name of the branch suggests, this Family Mart did in fact sit on a station platform, and that’s not the only thing that made it special — unlike most other branches of the chain, there were no sliding doors or iconic Family Mart jingle here, because it was too small to accommodate any customers.

▼ The store sat on a narrow platform that’s four to five metres (13-16 feet) wide, with the store itself measuring only around two by two metres.

These tiny dimensions made it look more like a platform kiosk than a conventional convenience store, but this really was a bona-fide Family Mart, as indicated by the signage above it. Above that familiar signage was another sign so important it even had its own light, and that one read:

▼ “The smallest Family Mart in Japan“.

Images:  Twitter/@miiko35504411

This Family Mart was crowned the nation’s smallest in March 2014, and while small “micro convenience stores” have popped up in factories and hospitals in the years since, none have served the general public from this small a scale.

Image: Twitter/@2014Fc93

According to staff who worked at the store, this branch of the chain remained the smallest Family Mart in the country up to its closing day. When that day came on 31 May, the shelves were empty, staff were no longer there, and all the Family Mart signage was concealed under white tape.

▼ Sayonara, smallest Family Mart.

Images:  Twitter/@sounds_of_earth

It was a sad day for local passengers, who’d become accustomed to seeing the tiny branch of the convenience store in their midst, and it was a sad day for staff who’d looked after the store while proudly wearing their Family Mart uniforms, including one woman who said she’d been working there for 30 years.

While no official reason has been given for the closure of the branch, which appears to have missed a beat by not stocking hot foods like the chain’s legendary Famichiki, pundits in Japan point to a general downward trend in stores on platforms like this one, likely due to decreasing sales in the face of increasing competition.

With no word yet on what will become of the store structure, we’ll have to wait and see if a kiosk will open up at the location or if it will be razed and replaced with vending machines. Either way, it’s a shame they couldn’t keep the store running with the help of Family Mart’s robot stocker.

Source: Norimono News via Yahoo! News Japan 
Featured image: Twitter/@2014Fc93
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