The Manual Co. stores: Zmaj Jovina 18.

If you have ever had the chance to visit The Manual Co. stores, you know they are carefully thought out down to the last detail.   When designing our handbags, wallets, and belts, we take inspiration from the rich heritage that the early twentieth century brought us. The same happens when we are furnishing our stores. Due to the large number of antiques that we collect as part of the Manual Museum of Forgotten Arts, our stores are not only places where you can get a closer look at our products but also places that will make you feel like you are traveling through time.

A brief history of Zmaj Jovina Street

Today we are taking you to the heart of Vojvodina, the city named Novi Sad and its famous Zmaj Jovina Street. This is where the story of the first shop begins. Throughout its rich history, this street has changed names several times but has always remained the main Novi Sad street for every merchant and customer. Today, next to the shops, this street is full of cafes and restaurants, and it is still one of the busiest in the city.   The main symbol of this street is undoubtedly the monument to Serbian poet Jovan Jovanović Zmaj. This monument is in front of one of the most valuable architectural buildings in Novi Sad – the building of the Bishop’s Palace. During the summer, the plateau around the monument is filled with street musicians from all over the world, and when it gets cold, they are replaced by a stand with roasted chestnuts and local musicians who don’t mind the cold.

Our shop at Zmaj Jovina 18.

About thirty years ago, the first store of The Manual Co. was opened on this street, which stretches from the monument to Uncle Jovi Zmaju to the Square of Liberty. Although today the entrance of this store is located right next to the promenade at number 18, when it was opened, it was located in one of the passages in Zmaj Jovina Street at number 10.

This is because in the nineties of the last century, residents of Novi Sad were happy to visit the passages in Zmaj Jovina and Dunavska streets, and they were the primary place for shopping until the appearance of shopping centers. Later, our store was moved to a location in Zmaj Jovina Street at number 18. This building had a long trading history, although there is a myth that there was also a prison in its basement. What is reliably known from historical sources is that the Novaković family lived and traded under number 18, and then the Matić family. Today, The Manual Co. company preserves the look of those bygone times and the interior. It shows us what it used to look like to enter the store of a well-to-do merchant from Novi Sad. This store is particularly interesting because there is a large iron cash register behind the counter, and the bags are displayed on solid dark wood shelves. If you look up, you will see the painted ceiling and on it, the figures of the patron saints of merchants. Painting the ceiling took even two years, but it is awe-inspiring and draws sighs from everyone visiting this place. If you pay attention, in this window, you will find selected items from our collection of famous Murano and Bohemian glass, the value of which is extremely high today.   Due to its specific appearance, and the feeling that you are entering not only a store but also a mini-museum, this store is one of the favorite places that world tourist guides mention in their recommendations, and it is not rare that foreigners want to visit our store in Zmaj Jovina.

What makes The Manual Co. stores different from others?

Visual presentation is extremely important in order to best honor our customers who return regularly because they appreciate our attitude towards handwork and old crafts. Just as we constantly try to show stunning photos and tell stories about our products on social networks, so every month, our creative team tries to come up with a new look for the storefront and tell a new story. At the moment, you can buy The Manual Co. leather goods in as many as ten different stores, meaning each store gets a new window display every month. We are often inspired by the seasons, artists, and our collection from a museum dedicated to forgotten arts, but we never repeat ourselves, and we always try to present our products to passers-by in a new way. Therefore, we invite you to pay attention the next time you walk through Novi Sad and try to figure out the theme of our window display. Author: Angelina Popović