From the Wikipedia page:
The screenplay was written by Samson Raphaelson based on the 1937
Hungarian play Parfumerie by Miklós László.
A quick hop over to Miklós László's Wikipedia Page shows:
Most famous of all the plays that became produced as a motion picture
during this time was Illatszertár, known in English as Parfumerie. It
had premiered at the Pest Theatre in Budapest in 1937, 1 and shortly
after László came to New York, the play was adapted as a movie script
by Samson Raphaelson and became the Ernst Lubitsch motion picture The
Shop Around the Corner (1940), with James Stewart, Frank Morgan, and
Margaret Sullavan. A few years later it was re-filmed as In the Good
Old Summertime (1949), a semi-musical showcase for Judy Garland,
starring Judy Garland, Van Johnson, and S.Z. Sakall.
In 1963, the play
was produced as a full Broadway musical with book by Joe Masteroff and
was titled She Loves Me. She Loves Me had music by Sheldon Harnick and
Jerry Bock (Fiorello!, Fiddler on the Roof, The Apple Tree). She Loves
Me, is also often referred to as the "Ice Cream Musical" because of a
signature song and performance by Barbara Cook. She Loves Me was
revived in 1993 by the Roundabout Theatre Company and ran for 354
In 1998, the play was used once again as the inspiration
for a screenplay, by Nora Ephron, which became the motion picture
You've Got Mail, with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
In 2001, the
Laszlo/Raphaelson MGM script was adapted for the stage in France and
was produced as a straight play La Boutique au Coin de la Rue ("The
Shop at the Corner of the Street"). This production was a faithful
adaptation of the MGM movie script The Shop Around the Corner and ran
for the 2002 season in Paris at the Théâtre Montparnasse winning top
honors. The production garnered five Moliere Awards, the French
equivalent of the American Tony Award — for Best New Play, Best
Adaptation of a Foreign Work, Best Director, Best Set Design, and Best
In 2009 "Parfumerie" was finally produced for the first time
in the United States as an English-language play. With a new
adaptation by the nephew of Miklós László, EP Dowdall, the production
took the play back to its original roots exploring with equal emphasis
both the story of the young lovers and the troubled marriage of the
shop owner Mr. Maraczek. The play premiered as "The Perfume Shop" in
December 2009 at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida.
Almost simultaneously, a separate Canadian production, translated,
adapted (Robins/Pettle) and produced by the Soulpepper Theatre Company
under a Canadian arts grant also premiered in Toronto.
So it seems that that particular play, Parfumerie, was the first example of the "shop around the corner" plot - and it has been successfully recreated many times since in film form.