Moratorium on new supermarkets

You will like this column, it is filled with common sense.

Apparently the MinFEC, Finance, Economy and Culture, extended the moratorium on supermarkets that was about to expire on May 23rd, 2019, and extended it by two years.

Just in time, before a new wave of markets floods us, her office conducted a survey on Facebook, and this is what they found.

The number of markets on the island:

Noord/Tanki Leendert 36

Oranjestad – West 39

Oranjestad – East 39

Paradera 20

Santa Cruz 16

Savaneta 19

San Nicholas – Noord 10

San Nicholas – South 8

Total 187 markets on Aruba.

In total 1,800 people were surveyed and 94% were of the opinion that we have too many markets here, and 74.5% indicated that there is no room for growth in this sector.

And that means that in the next two years, there will be no permits given for mini market/supermarkets in any of our barrios.

NEXT: Hardware stores, please. I want to see a survey and a moratorium on hardware stores, then food trucks?

Most of the Chinese owned supermarkets in Aruba look the same, and carry the identical products. Their traditional architecture with the tile façade, steel bars, and porcelain dragons or lions, in addition to traditional interiors are very similar and they all have traditional Chinese names.

I have read that while many of them are started and operated by immigrant entrepreneurs and their families, the knowhow, and the startup cash comes from investors of existing corporate conglomerates already headquartered in China, and Hong Kong etc.

These conglomerates have a global network of small grocery stores, and they have taken the local food shopping experience over. It is safe to say that the Chinese grocery sector has taken the local food shopping here over, while the tourist grocery sector is dominated by just 1 perhaps 2 players.  

For the small neighborhood stores, the business opportunity is perhaps unexciting, and same-old – though I did hear that many of these establishments dabbled in alternative markets from gambling to contraband – the real estate will however over time prove to be a smart investment, for whichever conglomerate that owns it.

 

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January 29, 2019
Rona Coster
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