The much anticipated Shoprite Tamarin supermarket opened up at the Barachois Commercial Centre in Tamarin the other week. We put our supermarket glasses on and went for a quick inspection.
The area has seen several attempts at establishing larger supermarkets in the past. From the Franprix supermarket a few years ago, to the recent Kaddy-Plus store, and several others before that.
For some mysterious reason they all seem to fail in attracting the demanding residents of Tamarin, Black Rock and La Preneuse.
Le Barachois Commercial centre has a lot going for it – or at least it should have – with the only Espace Maison & Jardin store in Black River, a couple of decent eateries, a book store, a pharmacy, easy access from the coastal road, and convenient parking space. So where are all the customers?
It’s a good question that demands a good answer, because Le Barachois Commercial centre is as deserted as ever, despite all the new stores popping up like mushrooms.
Anyone that have visited the Shoprite Hypermarket in Trianon, just outside Quatre Bornes, will be heavily disappointed on entering the Tamarin store at Le Barachois. We really tried to identify the Shoprite brand in the store, but apart from the sign outside – the store felt more like a very tired version of the old Kaddy-Plus.
Yes, you will find the usual Shoprite products in the store, and most basic household items are found here – just as they were before – and herein lies the real problem; there is no change.
The floor plan is the same, the lighting is the same, the high shelf systems, effectively blocking out the lights, are all the same – everything is the same! The Shoprite management have apparently even decided to keep the old, dark liquor corner at the far end of the store – complete with the deserted tasting area.
The bottom line is that it is difficult to know if you’re actually in a Shoprite store, a Kaddy-Plus store, or even an old Spar supermarket. We suspect that this is perhaps one of the main reasons why the store fails to attract customers. There is simply no change.
Of course it does not help that the main competitor is the highly popular London Way supermarket in neighbouring La Preneuse, or that the only bank in the area – Barclays Tamarin – packed up and moved its offices to La Preneuse last year.
With that move, Le Barachois also lost the Barclays ATM / Cashpoint outside the store, effectively forcing customers to either remember to bring cash, or pay with credit card.
Perhaps the few new stores in the area, such as Courts, can bring some new life to Le Barachois, but as for Shoprite, there is not a lot that is “rite” about this store – for the time being that is.