I love books as this shot of my office shows.
So a note from a reader, that can help you develop a micro business, caught my attention.
The reader recently sent this question: with the subject “Book stores and vitamins in Ecuador?
The Question: Dear Gary, For those of us living in Ecuador, can you name a few good bookstores and their addresses ? For those who want to read (in Spanish), or to purchase quality reference books, on any subject, where are the real bookstores? Surely there are a few in Guayaquil or Quito or Cuenca or Manta or Loja, etc.?
The same goes for a natural health care product stores with quality vitamin and mineral supplements. Are there any? If so, where?
Finally, for those of us of northern European ancestry, finding men’s shoes in the larger sizes is a big problem. Can you name some stores in Ecuador that carry the larger sizes? And that don’t charge exorbitant prices for them? And also, men’s clothing in the larger sizes?
Mind you, in both cases I am not looking for Gucci shoes, or Armani power suits. I can’t afford that type of apparel. I am talking about off the rack shoes and shirts and pants, that don’t cost an arm and a leg, or have to be tailor made. I am 6 feet thee inches, one hundred and ninety pounds, which practically makes me a giant compared to most Ecuadorean men.
Bonnie Keough on our Ecuador A team replied: Hi Richard. Note, the two stores I ma writing about are in the Mariscal Sucre area which we do not recommend visiting. If you go, I would recommend only visit in daytime and use a licensed taxi or a known driver.
Confederate Books is undoubtedly the best used bookstore in Ecuador. The gregarious owner Tommy Savage buys and sells used books in every category from science to biographies to fiction. He also has a small collection of French-, German-, and Spanish-language books. Additionally, he sells new Abya Yala publications (which focus on Ecuadorian indigenous groups).
This little corner bookstore, located in the heart of New Town’s Mariscal Sucre district, is a good place to come not only to swap and buy novels but also to have a glass of wine and a chat with Tommy, a New Orleans native. He is an enthusiastic source of what to do and where to do it in Quito. He also changes traveler’s checks and damaged dollars (possibly the only person in all of Ecuador to regularly do so) at rates comparable to those of local banks. As an ardent collector of unique beer cans and bottles, he may even give you a free book if you bring him something out of the ordinary.
Libri Mundi, in La Mariscal on Juan León Mera between Wilson and Veintimilla, is the best place to buy new books in Quito. They have an extensive collection of books in Spanish, as well as modest selections of books in English, French, and German.
I’ve purchased maps at Libri Mundi, very interesting store.
I’ve also started collecting Ecuador Infinito magazine. Each beautiful issue has stories in both English and Spanish and is loaded with wonderful photographs. I’ve seen them for sale at Olga Fisch Gallery, Supermaxi and other places.
There are also decent bookstores in Quito’s new shopping centers, El Jardín and QuiCentro.
There are two or three books stores also in La Floresta right down from the Suisse Hotel…with maps and other things of interest also.
Ecuador Living paid subscribers can see addresses, opening times, phone fax and email addresses at the password protected Quito Bookstores
For Vitamins Camari in Quito is like a small version of Whole Foods, I love poking around in the store. They have everything from essential oils to quinoa spaghetti. Also, there’s a great deli and wine shop next door and a wonderful market across the street.
I haven’t done any shopping for men’s shoes, but on more than one occasion I have brought shoes to Ecuador for my friends. My suggestion would be to order online, have them sent to a friend or relative’s home and they can bring them to you when they visit.
You could do the same with clothes, men’s jeans, pants and shirts are easier to shop for than ladies clothing. I often bring jeans, tee shirts, socks, etc. down for folks.
Wool suit handmade for Gary by David, a tailor in Cotacachi. $225.
Our tailor in Cotacachi makes men’s shirts and pants, casual or dressy and his wife makes lady’s clothing. Their prices are very reasonable. I’m sure every area has a tailor.
David… the tailor in Cotacachi, Todd Smith and Gary Scott in another handmade suit… French wool… $135.
Also, there is a boot factory in Cotacachi, they make shoes to order for you and can copy a photograph or an old pair of shoes in larger sizes for you….plus they are inexpensive.
As a last resort, Quito has several large malls which have the types of stores that all malls around the world have. You could probably find clothes, shoes and books there. Best regards, Bonnie
In this reply lays the seeds of several micro business ideas.
#1: Micro business idea #1: The obvious is to create a book store in Ecuador. Other variations would be to create a book trading club or data source so expats in Ecuador can communicate which books they have and will trade. This idea will work in any country.
#2: Create an in and out clothing and tailor service. Create a system so you can have the great tailors in Ecuador make clothes for expats. The key is in the marketing. You could also export hand made Ecuador suits! Materials are wonderful and clothing beautiful.
#3: Import Western clothing to expats. Offer a shopping service…. buy on the US and bring into Ecuador.
There are really a lot of ways that the book and clothing problems of expats in Ecuador create opportunity. You can earn as you solve these problems with your own micro business.
Roberto Ribadeneira, our Ecuador flower supplier will speak at both the April 6-10, 2001 Ecuador Export Tour and at our International Investing and Business Made EZ seminar in West Jefferson North Carolina June 23-26, 2011.
Learn more about Ecuador export opportunities.