Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mega's Grand Opening

The long awaited opening of Comercial Mexicana's Mega store at the Glorieta happened yesterday. They had people on the streets wearing arrow hats that pointed the way to the new store. I hear that the parking lot filled up and some people couldn't get in to check the store out. So we decided to walk there this morning, have breakfast and take a look around the store. I was only planning on doing some comparison shopping since we don't really have an operational kitchen.

We heard that there was a restaurant in the store but it is more of a cafe or food court with pizza and sandwiches. It is a place where you walk up to the counter and order and then pick up your food, similar to Costco's food courts. Although some people were eating pizza at 9:30 AM I wanted the Desayuno Expess for 29 pesos. It was fruit, croissant, biscuit, orange juice and coffee. The Desayuno Express wasn't express. The cafe had eight people working in it and maybe eight customers. Everyone behind the counter and in the kitchen were very earnest in what they were doing but it was disorganized and took about 5 minutes per person to place an order then you waited while it was put together. It wasn't Fast Food. The layout of the service area didn't make it easy for them to fill orders very quickly either. I'm sure they'll get the hang of it but right now they could use a little more training.

There is also a coffee shop by the bakery. The bakery looked really good. We didn't buy anything there but the pastries were tempting.

One thing I didn't understand was that the sugar and eggs seemed to be in the vegetable department cold cases. Maybe there was some special or something but if that is where they are going to be all of the time, I don't get the logic of it. The vegetable assortment was very nice and everything looked fresh. I really liked the look of the green beans and they had russet potatoes.

The wine section isn't very large but it was well organized by country, then variety and they had a good selection of wines 50 to 150 pesos a bottle. We saw wines that we don't usually see at Espinos so it will be fun to go back and browse through them some more.

The meat, fish and poultry is what interested me the most. They had frozen turkeys and smoked turkeys, rock cornish hens, packages of chicken parts, leg of lamb from New Zealand but I didn't see lamb chops, boneless pork roasts, pork tenderloin, duck and all kinds of fresh seafood from squid, octopus, shrimp to talapia and salmon.

The deli meats were pretty much the same ones that we regularly see and the selection of cheeses was nice but nothing exotic. They also had smoked salmon. La Arquitecta told us that she bought some of the prepared foods yesterday and she and her family thought that they were delicious. We looked at them and they did look good. Pork in green sauce, beef in pasilla, cochinita pibil and spaghetti were some of the ones we remember seeing.

Going up and down the aisles of groceries we noticed a few more American brands like Hunt's and also Heinz catsups, more varieties of cereals, and large jars of Smucker's jellies. The fruit juice section was large but there wasn't any tomato juice. I don't know why tomato juice is hard to find here but the tiendas don't carry it. Most of the time we can find it at Espinos and Bonanzas. Maybe the Mexicans eat so many tomatoes that they would rather have other kinds of juices. Gotta have tomato juice for Ned.

We did not see any of the Kirkland's branded merchandise. Lots of people thought that because Comercial Mexicana has the franchise for Costco in Mexico that we would see Costco merchandise. I was really hoping for the Kirkland paper products and also the Kirkland tuna, even their jars of mixed nuts. But no, nada.

The store carries some clothes, kitchen appliances and dishes, electronics such as TV's, and some bookshelves and desks for assembly. Nice department of personal items like shampoo, toothpaste and some makeup. There is also a drug department.

The store is bright and clean with large aisles but not nearly as large as the WalMart store in Queretaro. Of course San Miguel is a much smaller town than Queretaro.

La Arquitecta was very enthusiastic about the store and she felt that Mega's prices were good. While the store is a great addition to San Miguel and it will provide more jobs, I don't think it is going to totally eliminate our Costco run from time to time. And we feel like we will probably continue to do most of our daily shopping at our regular places. We just like walking in town and living without a car for our daily needs.


La Gringa said...

I just can't tell you how jealous I am! I'm green with envy. I almost couldn't finish reading your article.

Currently, our 'Super CeibeƱo' (owned by a company part-owned by Walmart) is being remodeled, so we'll see what happens here... I have heard, though, that Walmart has NO plans to open a real Walmart in Honduras. I don't know why.

It is interesting that Walmart was a store where I rarely shopped in Dallas, but now here in Honduras I would give anything for the priviledge!

Anonymous said...

Hola Billie,

We have a Mega store in Xalapa - not walking distance (about 12 miles). Anita went there for the first time last week. She thought the prices were reasonable and the selection was very good. We also have a Sam's, Costco and Super Walmart there in Xalapa - oh and a Home Depot.

There is also a huge new Mall owned by Carlos Slim. We haven't made it there yet - maybe before CHRISTMAS ;-)

Have fun at the new store.