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Palí opened a new store in Samara
• Low prices and competition will impact local supermarkets

By Arianna McKinney

"What do you think about having Palí in Samara now?"  

On November 12, the highly anticipated Palí opened its doors in Samara with a festive atmosphere. Many people went to check out the new store, and especially to check out the low prices. But not everyone is happy to have a big chain store like Palí in Samara. Some worry about the effect it might have on local supermarkets and pulperias (small local stores that sell the basics).

“It’s a great advantage for the prices. Now [people] don’t have to go to Nicoya to buy things,” commented Carolina Alvarez Garay, secretary of CASATUR. However, she recognized that some establishments like local supermarkets will be affected by competition with Palí. “Sometimes one prefers not to walk,” she said, suggesting that neighborhood establishments will still get customers but they may have to make some adjustments. “I think on a personal level that the other establishments will have to match the prices. Competition is good.”

Lidieth Castro Rodriguez, who runs Super Samara, said the morning of the grand opening of Palí was a normal morning for them. Because the supermarket carries a wide variety of items, including many specialty and international products, she feels people will continue to shop there. “We have very good products and products of good quality. As well, we have been working in Samara for 26 years and we’re from the town. I think it would be good for clients to support us because they would be supporting their own town.”

Palí, which is now part of Wal-Mart, plans to be part of the community, according to Olga Ugarte, Events Coordinator for Wal-Mart in Costa Rica. The company tries to have a positive influence in the communities where they have stores, for example by collecting funds for community projects or by supporting recycling efforts, she said.

The new Palí in Samara is the 133rd store in the Costa Rican chain, according to Hugo Arrieta Araya, the administrator of the Samara Palí. The decision to open the store in Samara was based on market studies, he said, another step toward fulfilling Palí’s desire is to be present in every community. “Our mission is to offer our clients the lowest price in a clean, orderly and agreeable environment,” he said.

To make the first few days of Palí’s presence in Samara even more agreeable, the store offered extras for customers Friday to Sunday, including free iced coffee and Pozuela cookies as well as face painting for the children. “People like it because they buy something and they receive something extra,” Ugarte said.
Arrieta Araya informed us that the new store also created 16 new job positions in Samara. One of Palí’s new employees is Kembly Aguilar. “It’s good because having a stable job helps you to get ahead,” she commented. “It has a good salary too.”

The new employees officially started working for Palí a month before the store opening, during which time they have gone through training and practice in Nicoya. The first day of work in the new store, though, was exciting. “Today has been really good. For being the first day, a lot of people have come,” Aguilar commented.

But a lot of people at the grand opening meant less people patronizing some of the other local businesses. The day of the grand opening, Katia Vásquez of Mini Super La Amistad said they expected that everyone in Samara would go to see the new Palí. Although they aren’t overly worried, she predicted that they will feel the effect of the new Palí on business a little. “We’ll have to wait a week and see how things continue,” she said.

Gabriela Girón Orias
“For everyone here it’s good to have the Palí because they are they lowest prices”
Kevin Bejarano

“For the zone, perfect, excellent. The people are today as if they were celebrating independence, something like that”
Marleny Carrillo Aleman

“It can be economical for one because there are things cheaper than in the pulperías here”
Daniela Retana

“It’s very good because there were a lot of markets but with high prices and it obligated someone to have to buy from them or have to go to Nicoya, which in our case is what we did”


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