For a food consumer, shopping for a wide selection of groceries on Roatan has never been easier. The island has currently six supermarkets: Three Eldon’s Supermarkets, Woody’s Groceries Supermarket in West End, Hiper Mega Supermarket in French Harbour and Plaza Mar Supermarket in Coxen Hole. Santos Guardiola residents still have to travel to their neighboring municipality to do their major shopping.
On August 2, without much fanfare and after 25 years of doing business, the third Eldon’s Supermarket, located in Coxen Hole behind Petrosun, opened its doors on the island. It is almost an exact replica of the 1,200 square meter Eldon’s in French Harbour.
There are 20,000 items stocked on the store’s shelves. According to Eldon’s Supermarkets General Manager, the store uses 150 different suppliers; 70 percent of the food items come from Miami and other cities in the US, the rest comes from suppliers in Honduras. Some produce like lettuce, vegetables and fruits arrive on Roatan from Chile via the long route thru Florida. The supermarket has been appealing to customers interested in US type produce such as milk, juices, etc.
“We have a delicious island food buffet,” said Lucy Cooper, a manager at Eldon’s who helped with the opening of the new Coxen Hole store. Over sixty people work at the new store, and around 200 people total are employed at the three Eldon’s stores.
Eldon’s in down town Coxen Hole, previously Casa Warren, has scaled down operations and has planed to reopen as Pizza Inn and Bojangles restaurant.
Another supermarket in French Harbour is Hiper Mega, a chain of stores that was launched on the coast seven years ago and today incorporates three stores: one in La Ceiba, one in Tocoa and one on Roatan at Mall Mega Plaza. The island store opened two years ago and, according to Marvin Tablada, the stores GM, has increased sales by 15% in the last year. “Our main consumers are Spanish,” says Tablada, but ads that several resorts, including Mayan Princess and Fantasy Island help the store bottom line in bulk purchases.
According to Tablada the prices at Hiper Mega Roatan are the same as in Hiper Megas on the mainland. The import of US items is tax exempt and these items are cheaper at the Roatan store. Thirty employees work at the 1,900 square meter store that also has around 20,000 items on its shelves. [/private]