Renovated El Vergel Supermaxi is country’s ‘biggest and best’; Two more stores are on the way

Sep 21, 2020 | 17 comments

Delayed for three months by the Covid-19 pandemic, the renovated Supermaxi in Cuenca’s El Vergel shopping mall reopened Saturday morning to large crowds of shoppers. “This is the biggest and best supermarket in the country and it will be the model for future renovations of our stores,” says Alvaro Rothembach, regional manager of Corporacion Favorita, owner of the Supermaxi chain.

Alvaro Rothembach, Supermaxi regional manager, at the renovated store at El Vergel mall. (El Mercurio)

The new store has almost twice the floor space as the old Supermaxi and offers expanded product lines in all areas, according to Rothembach. “Shoppers will notice this in the produce and meat sections as well as with new imported offerings, including wines and cheeses.”

He adds that the grocery area of the new store is larger than that of the Megamaxis, Favorita’s Walmart-like department stores in Quito and Guayaquil.

For its renovation plan, Rothembach says that planners looked to “world-class” supermarkets in the U.S. and Europe for ideas. “We borrowed the best ideas from such chains at Publix in the southeast U.S., and stores in France and the U.K.,” he said. “Although the size of the store is important, the layout and selection is what customers are most interested in.”

Favorita has plans for two more stores in Cuenca, Rothembach said. Construction of a Megamaxi will begin in early 2021, and another Supermaxi, in the Challuabamba area, will break ground in late 2021 or early 2022. “We are several months behind with our plans due to the pandemic but are eager to begin construction as soon as possible. Because of population growth, Cuenca is one of the most attractive markets in the country.”

Rothembach said that Favorita, which also owns the Aki and SuperAki grocery chain as well as several other stores, has fared well during the pandemic. “Although many parts of the economy have suffered with the pandemic, grocery sellers have maintained a strong financial position.”