New trend: Vietnamese grocery stores

In Brno, Economy on May 14, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , ,

There are two major business activities thanks to which the Vietnamese minority is known in the Czech Republic: fast-food restaurants and low-quality (and quite often counterfeit) clothes and shoes. I have a favorite place where I buy noodles with grilled pork. Yummy! And I only bought one thing at a clothes market: my gym bag.

But there is a new thing the Vietnamese have recently found to be interesting and probably well-profitable: small grocery stores, called vecerka in Czech.

Vecerka is a retail concept that survived the fall of communism in 1989. Before 1989 even retail chains were operated by state-run enterprises. They closed at 6 p.m. Anyone who needed to purchase groceries needed to find a vecerka, or “evening shop”. They were hard to find even in bigger cities.

The term is still used now for smaller businesses that are open until late at night and operated by self-employed businesspersons, i.e. not retail chains like Tesco (which, by the way, has 24/7 hours, i.e. one huge vecerka).

The Vietnamese realised that there are many people who have little or no time to drive to Tesco and that people often want to buy something they miss on a particular evening… They are hard-working and they do not mind staying up until 10 p.m., closing up and going home…

The MAKRO wholesale company even has product catalogues in Vietnamese…

And there are more and more people who found out that shopping at a grocery store run by Vietnamese is an interesting part of their lifestyle, one of the reasons being that the stores often sell interesting ingredients and other foodstuffs…


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