It is touching to hear Kyr-Antonis, the former chief engineer of the Dimitris Nomikos tomato processing plant in Vlychada, tell stories of the old days, when 3,500 crates of delicious Santorini cherry tomatoes would make their way through its cogs and wheels every day. He was just 7 years old when he started getting in the way of the plant’s engineers, hoping to earn a small wage as their assistant.
Seeing the young man’s potential, Giorgos Nomikos, Dimitris’ son, later paid for him to study in the port city of Piraeus and gave him a steady job at a responsible post. Kyr-Antonis raised three children thanks to the factory and has only adulation for his former boss. Today, he is responsible for maintaining the machinery and guarding the former plant, occasionally acting as guide.
“ Given a full facelift, the Santorini Arts Factory hosts concerts and plays, has a modern gift shop, while also inviting groups of local schoolchildren eager to learn about the arts. ”
Shut down since 1981, when poverty and an explosion in tourism began taking their toll on the island’s production, the factory was revamped by the next generation to bring out its industrial characteristics, reopening last year as an industrial museum and cultural center.
Given a full facelift both inside and out, the Santorini Arts Factory hosts concerts and plays, has a modern gift shop selling elegant souvenirs and knick knacks, edibles and a few choice publications, while also hosting groups of local schoolchildren eager to learn about the arts. And even though Kyr-Antonis may wish, in his heart of hearts, that the machines could roar back into life and contribute to Santorini’s economy once more, he takes comfort in the fact that he is serving his island’s cultural life.