Ecuador’s supermarket giant, Supermaxi has opened its newest store in the Challuabamba neighborhood in Cuenca, Ecuador.
This comes on the back of their announcement of a $36 million dollar investment in the 1st MegaMaxi in the Azuay province. Due to open early 2023, the construction will take a total of 5 years to complete and provide an estimated 350 direct jobs and over 1,000 indirect opportunities.
The new Supermaxi in Challuabamba has been met with local enthusiasm – evidenced by the long lines of shoppers waiting to enter.
We visited at 3:00pm the day it opened (03.09.2021) and the car park was completely full with others trying to get it. These lines grew more on Saturday as the weekend shoppers flocked to get a glimpse of their new local Supermaxi.
If you’ve visited any of the other Supermaxis in Cuenca lately (such as in El Vergel, Don Bosco or Gringolandia), then you’ll be familiar with the new layout Supermaxi has rolled out.
The new-look is definitely an improvement, with more emphasis placed on the fruits, meat, deli & bakery sections.
Are more Supermaxis a good thing for expats?
Short term, yes. Who doesn’t love having access to more of their comfort foods from their home country? It helps provide a soft landing for many expats new to Ecuador.
But, long-term I’m not so sure. The considerable consolidation that’s already occurred to Ecuador’s food supply chain is set to tighten up even more. Where does this eventually lead? To a Walmart-style monopoly that leaves the small local shops with few options to compete.
To a degree, it’s a zero-sum game with only so many customers available in Ecuador. But, if the convenience of Supermaxi continues to reign above all else, then you start to say goodbye to your friendly local fruit & other shops that many currently rely on.
So, by all means, grab some well-deserved treats from Supermaxi, but don’t forget to support your local shops as they certainly need it.
They may even be willing to give you a ‘yapa’ (extra something for free) if you play your cards right!