Finally, after a decade of comings and goings and three postponed announcements, the Colombian brand Juan Valdez open tomorrow thursday its first store in Argentina, at the Unicenter mall.
The brand makes its landing hand in hand with the gastronomic group RE, owners of the chain Almacen de Pizzas, Café y Tostados and the Paraguayan firm Acsa, which has the Juan Valdez license in the neighboring country since the end of 2014.
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“The plan was delayed and restructured. In principle because as a consequence of the pandemic there were global changes in Juan Valdez,” explains Sebastin Rios to the newspaper El Cronista ER partner.
Initially, it was planned to open 20 stores between Argentina and Uruguay in five yearsToday the project is less ambitious. “The commitment is to open eight stores in the same period of time. We believe that we are going to comfortably meet the objectives”, adds the gastronomic expert.
Five years ago, the competition began to keep what seemed to be one of the most difficult figures in the local brand market. In 2010, rumors had begun about a possible arrival in the country, however, the confirmation never came, up to now.
The firm planned to open its first location at the end of 2019, but the soaring of the dollar after the PASO and the arrival after the Pandemic postponed the expansion plans for 2022. “We trust the brand. We are here to make the world of coffee bigger,” says Ros.
Another challenge, the barriers to imports
The Unicenter location offers the different varieties and types of coffees of the brand. You can also buy retail products such as the typical grain and ground coffee. “Opening in the middle of the heat wave is an advantage. We bet on generating the opening during the low season to get to winter with experience, which is when sales are most driven“, says the executive.
Today the brand new Unicenter store has the same variety and quantity of products as its peers in the region.
“We did two large imports to meet the goal of having variety and quantity. In the opening there will be no shortages,” says Rios. But he recognizes that is deasy to predict what will happen in the future: “With a dollar on the rise and with import restrictions, it is not a variable that we can handle,” he says.
The obstacles that exist today to bring merchandise is not a minor detail for international brands. “It does not allow us to plan, it becomes complicated“, acknowledges Rios but remarks that “We are used to playing by these rules.”
“If we can do business in Argentina, we are able to do it anywhere in the world. We are willing to play with these rules because we want to continue betting on the country.“, he adds.
The local Unicenter employ a total of 15 workersYes, for many their first job. “We have training, people from the brand come from Colombia to teach employees about the world of coffee. With each opening of a store, jobs are generated, that is why it is important to achieve our objectives, supply our stores and continue to grow in the country.s”, highlights Rios.
The brand in Argentina and Uruguay operates in the four commercial channels: traditional coffee machines, the sale of packaged coffee in stores, the e-commerce, and the market to supply hotels, restaurants and catering.
The boom for coffee
The Colombian firm lands in the country in full boom for specialty coffee shops. “What happened with pizza is happening with coffee. Before there were no varieties, it was the traditional one, the Argentine one, but Little by little, brands such as Sturbucks, the specialty coffee, began to appear. there are very good varieties and a lot of market,” acknowledges Rios.
“We have specialty coffee, we know how to grow a brand, we are at the right time for the business to be a success”, He says
And he recognizes that unlike many specialty coffee shops that have just one or two locations “We with Juan Valdez reach places where others do not want to or cannot. Our challenge is to reach all neighborhoods“, he concludes.