I am back in the designer’s seat after a wonderful and restful vacation with my family in Mexico. I have a son, daughter in law and grand daughter in Mexico, and they warmly shared their house with us during our visit. We had a great time.
While I was there, I paid particular notice to the design of shops and business. I was very impressed with the use of space. Most shops are very limited in space, and in general, the shop proprietor has to do much more with the available space. The amount of inventory is impressive, considering it doesn’t look overly crowded.
Store clerks can be a little aggressive, especially in the touristy 5th ave of Playa del Carmen where they practically tackle you to drag you into the store. Most are very polite in spite of being aggressive in the sales pitch. You will be accosted by those luring you into tours and time share presentations. A friendly “no gracious” will usually end the pitch thankfully. Mexicans in the areas that I visited work hard for their money, and I have to give them high marks for perseverance and effort in making a living. I doubt that I would be able to do the same.
Not all shops are small, and some big box stores are evident as well. Home Depot is just the same as everywhere else (but not found in Playa del Carmen, you have to go to Cancun for that)
Other stores where distinctly Mexican, for example some stores such as the grocery chain Chedraui have underground indoor parking. Not paid parking mind you, free to the visitor.
Here is the Wiki info on Chedraui:
Chedraui was founded in 1927 in Xalapa, Veracruz by Lázaro Chedraui Chaya and his wife. In 1971 it opened the first supermarket in Xalapa, Veracruz. In 2005 it bought 29 supermarkets from Carrefour. Chedraui’s primary competition includes large grocers and hypermarkets such as Soriana, Wal-Mart and H-E-B.
According to Hoover’s, it is “Mexico’s fourth-largest retailer, the supermarket giant sells groceries, apparel, and non-perishable items in 183 stores, being 136 Tienda Chedraui, 40 Súper Chedraui, 2 warehouse Chedraui and 5 Selecto Chedraui.
Now all of this would be boring unless there was a good connection to design, and, in my opinion, there is! The store is well laid out with isles that allow for grocery carts to pass one another freely. The items are arranged in a manner that makes sense for the way that people flow through the store. My experience shopping there was enjoyable, with design elements on store fixtures and walls that where pleasing to the eye. I have never commented on store design before, but, well I thought this was so well done it deserved a mention.
Just a final note, I have heard a lot of news about Canadian tourists being robbed, beaten or killed, and I must say that during this visit, and previous visits, I heard nothing about anything remotely like this occurring. My son said that in the years that he has lived there, he has only witnessed one fight, and that was between two drunk tourists. Sometime the news organizations are just too quick to sensationalize events, and do not portray them in the correct background. One house fire is not the same as a city burning down.