On Thursday night, the 30th of August, the doors opened on the long-awaited Calimax store and the eager shoppers pushed forward over the threshold. The entire building was packed as shoppers explored the various sections of the store, which has an in-store pharmacy and fresh bakery as well as extensive dairy, meat and produce sections.
Grand Opening Crowds
All five checkouts were lined up around the store as customers took advantage of the grand opening sales and signed up for the store’s discount cards.
The store, located on the south side of Chetumal street, about half-way between the arches and the glorieta, will now be open from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM every day.
This past Memorial Day weekend was good to San Felipe. Town was busy, restaurants did good business and the hotels were close to full capacity. This is our premiere beach holiday with the 83 degree water and intense sunshine giving the whole family a treat.
Day camping on the beach
There were people camping on the Malecon and the beaches north and south of town had a bumper crop of quads and trucks. All the visitors I spoke to were having a wonderful time. They consistently praised San Felipe as being a great place for a family vacation without all of the regulations and rules associated with any similar beach venue in the USA. If there was any grumbling, it was about the prices being charged along the Malecon for relatively “vanilla” food; two bucks for a fish taco.
Prices in general have risen quite sharply in the past few months. Part of this has to do with the feeling that the worst of the recession is now behind us and there is growing optimism that the visitors are returning to Mexico. Everywhere there is a feeling that a new broom will sweep clean after the upcoming elections. New construction is starting up in town and buildings that have stood half-finished for several years are now showing evidence of coming back to life.
A typical Calimax market in Mexicali
A very strong vote of confidence is being demonstrated by the Calimax grocery chain that has started construction of a small supermarket on Chetumal, just north of the Glorietta. The Calimax chain consists of around 100 stores in northern Baja and is associated with Smart and Final in the USA. They generally stock a good supply of US goods and that should appeal to the expat community here. They pride themselves on having the freshest fruit, vegetables and best cuts of meat. Expect to see them offer American-type weekly promotions, issue club cards and take plastic. I think that this is going to be a wake-up call to our existing markets in San Felipe.
Home Depot and Walmart are other chains that will be looking hard at San Felipe if growth does, indeed, take off again.