Life, liberty, and the pursuit of a new washing machine
On Saturday December 8, 2007 we did some serious power shopping.
In the morning we drove over to the Komsomolski district and checked-out a new store, Energiya for your Home, which was having its grand opening. Komsomolski district is quickly becoming the retail center for the city of Krasnodar.
A retail scene in Krasnodar
Already this year, Magnit opened it first hypermarket in Komsomolski. This hypermarket is a new format for Magnit which has over the past 10 years become the Russian national leader in small neighborhood supermarkets. Magnit plans to opens dozens of these new hypermarkets in the next 18 months.
The grandfather of retail in Komsomolski district is of course, SBS Furniture & Entertainment. SBS is the Jordans Furniture of Krasnodar. Remember Jordans Furniture, now owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, is the Boston-based furniture retailer to combine furniture shopping with an IMAX movie theatre and other entertainment. SBS now boasts 48 lanes of bowling (the largest in Europe supposedly), 10+ movie screens, video game archae, retail boutiques, cafes, and more.
Recently, Auchon, the French hypermarket, opened nearby to SBS and Magnit. I wanted to stop by Auchon and Magnit yesterday but the crowds and traffic were atrocious and it would have been more trouble than is was worth.
Since our new condo will be finished this month, we are now in the market for some "santechnika" (kitchen appliances) and so we wanted to check-out the grand opening bargains at Energiya for your Home. While there were many bargains to be had (50% discounts were common) on plasma TV's, refrigerators, stereo systems, etc, the four check-out lines literally snaked their way throughout the whole store and it would have taken at least, an hour to an hour and a half to pay for your purchases.
It was amazing to see all the people buying stuff for their apartments and homes. It kind of reminded me of an Apple Store opening when people are camped-out waiting. People there had boxes stacked on boxes and were taking turns waiting while their relatives and friends took smoking breaks outside.
The scene at that store is not much different than the scenes at dozens of large retail stores throughout Russia every weekend. The consumer boom here is overwhelming. Everybody seems to be buying everything all the time.
We ended our evening (yes, we did go home for the afternoon) by driving over to the Metro, the first hypermarket in Krasnodar, on Rostovskaya Street. As we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed that next door a new Home Depot-like store named Baucenter (French I believe) will be opening on December 15th. This will be the 2nd Baucenter to open in Krasnodar.
Obviously, the do-it-yourself home improvement sector is huge here. Russians have historically been epic do-it-yourselfers during Soviet times. What I am hoping will happen is that with the advent of enough do-it-yourself stores (Leroy Merlin will open next to IKEA in April), we will begin to see the development of small home builders. Now that one can literally buy anything one would need to build a custom home there should be more people entering this niche. This will be important for our golf development where we will be selling individual parcels of land to small builders and individuals to build homes and dachas.
Inside Metro I got myself an HP black and white laser printer for $145 dollars, a fire extinguisher and firs aid kit for my car (it's mandatory in Russia to carry these items), and a ton of groceries (even 3 ripe avocados). The whole store is quite impressive. Not only is it huge (think BJ's Wholesale Club or CostCo) but the selection is really quite incredible.
I've now come to the conclusion that there is no longer any need to buy stuff in America and then shlep it over here in duffle bags and suitcases. They now have everything. The only exception is that clothing is super expensive here. Nothing beats the selection and prices of clothes in America.
By the way, the fish selection at Metro was very impressive in and of itself. See the photo below:
All photos by Timothy Post. Â© 2007 All rights reserved. Republished with permission.
Timothy Post, a native of Boston, Massachussets and an MBA graduate of Babson College, is a private equity and real estate developer in Krasnodar Krai. You can read the original post on Tim's blog, Inside Krasnodar. If you have more questions about doing business in Krasnodar, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org .