News and Facts about Cuba

Zona+ Hopes to be Cuba’s First Wholesale Store

Zona+ Hopes to be Cuba’s First Wholesale Store / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 9 July 2016 – A week after its
opening the store Zona+ still hasn’t received permission to offer its
products at wholesale prices, Located on Calle 7th A, between 66th and
68th in Havana’s district, it has a strong competitor about 300
yards away in the market on 70th Street, one of the most well-stocked in
the capital.

The commercial slogan of the new store says that clients can find what
they need there “and more.” Although it has not been officially
announced in any national media, it’s already known that its most
promising attraction is that it will operate under the concept of a
wholesale market, one of the most common demands of private
entrepreneurs, especially those who have restaurants, cafes, or rent
rooms with meals included.

“We are just waiting for directions, otherwise everything is ready,” one
of the clerks who identified herself as Sonia told 14ymedio. However, no
employee was able to respond with certainty whether there will be some
kind of identification required to shop there, proving a customer is
self-employed, or if there will be a certain quantity of merchandise
that is is sold at “warehouse prices.”

If it is compared to other stores that sell in hard currency, clearly
its offerings are more varied, especially in the areas of , cleaning
supplies and personal hygiene items. The merchandise is also available
in larger sizes and wrapped in containers appropriate for carrying
larger volumes than would be needed by a customer buying for family

Such is the case for the 20 liters of soybean oil at a price of 38.40
Cuban convertible pesos (CUC). However, the new establishment is still a
long way from parity with similar outlets of any chain in the
international market in other countries. A man of middle age, with the
aspect of a “man of the world,” on leaving the store expressed his hope
that the store would continue as it is, clean, well ordered and with
pleasant air conditioning. “The problem is we have no ‘fixer’ to ensure
this and we can confirm that a new broom sweeps clean. Come and check at
the end of the year,” he said, with a certain air of skepticism.

The store manager, Javier Muñoz, explained on another occasion that
there is an intention to open two more of these markets in Havana,
which, according to his version, can be supplied smoothly because the
“necessary reserves” exist. Some optimists see in this step the
unmistakable sign that soon the creation of small and medium enterprises
will be allowed, which could not exist if they had to purchase their
inputs in the retail market.

Some of the products sold here, like boxes of frozen chicken pieces or
the sacks of powdered milk, belong to the group of goods whose prices
have recently been lowered on a widespread basis. These offerings,
however, do not appear in the all markets and here they do have them,
but that does not mean they are selling at wholesale prices, which has
generated confusion about whether Zona+ will be allowed to do that.

The custom of announcing as fact what is intended has resulted in many
people thinking this is already a wholesale store, but even if all the
workers are optimistic and predict that the authorization will be here
soon, the truth is that it still is not working under that definition.

Source: Zona+ Hopes to be Cuba’s First Wholesale Store / 14ymedio,
Reinaldo Escobar – Translating Cuba –

2 Responses to Zona+ Hopes to be Cuba’s First Wholesale Store

  • More good news; greater efficiency in distribution = benefits for everyone. Let us hope that some jobsworths in the Cuban bureaucracy do not stop this initiative.

    • It says: “hope”, William.
      This is the reaction of the Stalinist elite:
      Antirreformistas protagonizan debates en la Asamblea Nacional | Diario de Cuba –
      Learn Spanish so you can get a better picture.

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