Cuba's new entrepreneurs have complained that one of the things missing from President Raul Castro’s reforms is a wholesale market.
Currently, restaurant owners, hairdressers and snack-store owners have to buy their products in supermarkets at the same high prices as everyday consumers.
But one store may show that change is coming to Cuba.
At Zona+, produce is piled high up to the ceiling, like in a warehouse. Shop employees say the plan is eventually to sell everything in large amounts at discounted rates. They want to focus specifically on giving discounts to small businesses.
So far, Zona+ is offering only a few goods in bulk for reduced prices. But shoppers at Zona+ said it already has an advantage because it has more items than other stores in Cuba. Usually Cuba's supermarkets are half-empty.
Officials at CIMEX, the state commercial corporation that owns Zona+, declined to comment.
Last April, the Cuban government announced that some small companies would be able to buy supplies directly from government producers and wholesale outlets for the first time. However, this announcement did not say whether the reform would extend to the private sector.
Cuba often likes to experiment with ideas before making them official and extending them across the country. Reforms can also be reversed.
I’m Mehrnoush Karimian-Ainsworth.
Words in This Story
entrepreneur – n. a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money
wholesale – n. the business of selling things in large amounts to other businesses rather than to individual customers
in bulk – n. in large quantities
advantage – n. something (such as a good position or condition) that helps to make someone or something better or more likely to succeed than others
declined – v. to say that you will not or cannot do something
private sector – n. the part of an economy which is not controlled or owned by the government
reversed – v. to change your decision or opinion about something