Convenience store offers relief for mountain climbers in Hunan

(China Daily) 15:30, November 01, 2023

A climber shops at a convenience store built on a cliff at the Shiniuzhai scenic area in Pingjiang, Hunan province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Imagine you're climbing a mountain, and along the way you start to get hungry or thirsty. How cool would it be if you could just stop at a convenience store nearby, despite being high above the ground?

Climbers in Pingjiang, Hunan province, don't have to imagine this. For them, such a store built on a cliff is a reality.

The Shiniuzhai scenic area is famous for its towering cliffs, deep canyons and unique rock formations. It is also known for its glass-bottom bridge, one of the longest and highest glass bridges in the world.

Song Huizhou, general manager of Shiniuzhai, said the 2-square-meter convenience store there is built on a mountainside about 120 meters above the ground.

It was constructed in 2017 and opened a year later. Visitors coming to experience the scenic area's rock climbing program are usually amateurs, so they often get hungry and thirsty along the way. The park authority decided to build the store as a refreshment center for them.

It generally takes the climbers nearly one-and-a-half hours to make it to the top.

The drinks and food at the store are carried up by staff members every day. Despite the location and laborious delivery of the products, the prices are similar to those at ordinary stores, Song said.

The climbers are allowed to take one free bottle of water, he said.

The shop has generated great attention on social media platforms. Some netizens joked that it is the "least convenient convenience store", while others said they found it "adorable" and that it would be "very cool" to work in the store.

Song said all the buzz online has attracted people from various places to the area. The number of visitors is still lower than before the COVID-19 epidemic, but he said he is confident that more will come now that the situation has improved.

The store opens at 8 am and closes at 5 pm. A sole cashier is on hand if the store has many customers; if not, the visitors can scan a QR code with their phones to pay for their items, he said.

Safety is also a top priority, and employees routinely conduct maintenance and inspect reinforcements at the store, he added.

Hui Ping from Pingjiang recently shopped at the convenience store at Shiniuzhai. She and a friend visited the spot during the Mid-Autumn Festival on Sept 29.

At the store, they were each given a free gift bag containing water and other drinks and mooncake.

As an amateur climber, Hui, 29, said she did not want to carry any extra weight on her way up, and it is easy for her to get tired or thirsty along the way, so the store is a great benefit.

"The store is so cool, as you do not come across such a store easily in your daily life," she said. "I will definitely recommend my friends to go rock climbing here. It is challenging and also brings a great sense of achievement."

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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