THE REAL REPUBLICA UPDATE: COLMADO LIFE
Unlike the states, where the majority of urban grocery shopping revolves around supermarkets and convenience stores, the center of the Dominican Republic’s day-to-day household needs are met in one sole place, the colmado. The colmado is the one-stop neighborhood shop that focuses its inventory on specifically what its clientele buy on a daily basis. Think open market meets “bodega.” Here, local rice, grains, and other fresh produce arrive on a daily basis, sometimes depending on how bountiful they are in the season. Also, like that daily produce, the prices here can fluctuate. Yesterday´s bananas may have been 4 pesos for 10, but ask again today and you might grab them for 3. The local colmado also stores its share of hardware store goods because, remember, as likely as it is to find a hardware store in more delevoped places, they’re hard to come by in the DR. You’ll also find a healthy quantity of spirits in stock, mostly island produced like Presidente beer and Brahma, along with local rums like Brugal and Barcelo. The average business day for these establishments run from as early as 7AM, sun up, until 10PM in the evening. In between those hours you can expect customers to stop in for everything from meats to mops. Colmados also deliver! Some of the older or more occupied locals love to make good use of the service. Not bad! It’s said that colmados are the inspiration behind bodegas, where convenience plays a significant role in tailoring to local clientele to foster business and help them finance weekly groceries. Watching firsthand how the establishment operates, I’d have to agree!