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Meet the Good Guys - the 3 Best Businesses We've Encountered in Moldova

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So here's a new type of entry for us to have on OSE. Today I'd like to share with you companies that we've encountered in the course of doing business here that have stood out as great examples of how to conduct a quality business in Moldova. It's important for me to note that this list is only compiled from our experiences here so a) we have no doubt missed lots of great companies (post them in the comments below with why they're awesome and we'll try and include it in a future post!) and b) we may have judged a company as awesome from our limited experience where someone else had a different experience there. In either case take to the comments to let us know what you think! Here are the picks. They aren't ordered so don't get too hung up on the numbers except as an organizational convenience :)

Without further ado our list...

 

#1 Metro

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What are they all about? 

Everything. Metro is Moldova's sole big box store and resembles something like a Costco/Sam's Club from the US. It's a German store so it stands to reason that it's clean and efficient and generally well stocked. Metro carries everything from patio furniture to fresh fish and manages pretty well to remain relevant both as a restaurant / business supply location and a one stop shop for individuals looking for quality stuff in a western atmosphere. 

Where can they be found?

2 in Chisinau and 1 in Balti mean that Metro is never that far away. In Chisinau there's one on the north road just south of Stauceni and one on the way to the airport. 

Why are they awesome?

Other than having lots of useful stuff Metro is awesome for 2 distinct business reasons. 

1) Factura Fiscals

Remember our lengthy conversation about accounting in Moldova and all the legwork involved in buying even something as cheap as $2? The paperwork, conversations with accountants, stamps and stamps and stamps and stamps? Well at Metro there is none of that. Someone at Metro (presumably German) looked at the system and said, "wait a minute! they require 2 receipts, semi-official and super-official for any purchase but only if you're a company!? this is terrible! we want people to shop here with ease. Let's just print every single person a factura fiscal from the register and that way our customer doesn't have to worry." So that's what they did - and it's wonderful. The time everyone saves is incredible. Simply put, it makes good business sense and thank god the Germans rarely miss opportunities like that. 

2) Delivery

Metro delivers for restaurants. This is not only convenient it is legally necessary if you want to follow the letter of the law. You see it's not legal for me to shop there in my own car and drive it to my restaurant because I do not have a legally approved climate controlled stainless steel interior delivery vehicle as required by Moldovan law. More on this at a later date but suffice to say Metro has you covered. God bless the Germans. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_metro.jpg

in the end though, "Moldova will out" (pictured: aisle close for forklift
which is working in the background)

b2ap3_thumbnail_logo.png#2 Supraten

 

What are they all about? 

Construction - home remodel and contractor supply.

Where can they be found?

Online here and at г. Кишинёв, ул. Петрикань, 84

Why are they awesome?

Superten is Moldova's Home Depot or Lowes - they have it all. Need drywall, anchors, a pneumatic hammer and a hanging kitchen table light that looks like a birds-nest? this is your one stop shop. Mostly super practical but catering to all the funny tastes amongst us, Superten is stocked. Furthermore their staff actually know what they're talking about and want to help. Now they're not exactly Home Depot or Lowes here but by Moldovan terms it's great. For businesses they make things easy (though not as much as Metro) by having an on site office with no fewer than 12 accountants on staff to print you factura fiscals. Their second building has another such office with 5 more accountants in it in case you're shopping there for lighting or bathroom fixtures. Not too shabby. 

What's their closest competition? (aka who do they outshine?)

Basically the bazaar which is a nonstarter. The bazaar is great if you really need that one backward threaded bolt to fit your soviet made drill from 1978 AND have all day to spend AND are ok being sold on having some guy rewind your drill's motor to increase it's efficiency which will only take him 5 hours and cost you 87 cents. Superten is your in-and-out shop. Though I am gonna try this place soon...

 #3 Клякса "Blot" (picture at top of page - poor quality because I snapped it with my crappy phone)

What are they all about? 

Paint. Particularly Tikkurila paint from Finland. 

Where can they be found?

sos Muncesti 165 Chisinau for the main store or products at Supraten

Why are they awesome?

Two big reasons here. Firstly, these guys get paint. If you have a question they will have an answer and if they don't know they will tell you that and find someone who does. Anyone reading this who has lived in Moldova knows that this isn't uncommon so much as totally and utterly unheard of (caring enough to answer a customer question that is). I was referred to their store because they have a rep who spends all day in Supraten helping people pick out their paints. Remember how I mentioned that Supraten had good customer service? their paint reps look grumpy and unknowledgeable next to "Blot's" rep. She patiently worked with my designer friend and I to pick our paint and walked us through a range of options from the Tikkurila that her company sold there to Superten's many other brands. At the end of the day her product was better and sold itself and I had no idea until I was back there looking for another paint product that she actually wasn't just an especially helpful Supraten employee. It was 4 of 4 stars for sales - built trust, recommended product, made sale and followed up next time I was there. This brings me to the second reason this company is awesome. They have amazing customer service. 

In case you didn't get it from the fact that they a) had a representative in a hardware store and b) she REALLY knew what she was talking about and wanted to make sales, here's a bit more evidence. Eventually I went to their main store (address above) because they had larger buckets of paint they could mix. When I met the staff there they worked with me to get the product I wanted and as it mixed handed me a survey to ask how I found their store, what I wanted to buy and what they didn't have and could carry to make me a happier customer. I was flabbergasted. More so when they gave me a 5% discount card applicable on my first purchase and in perpetuity. The second time I was there the employees remembered me by name and happily greeted me. One time I forgot to take a register receipt (I had the factura but Moldova needs both) and their accountant called me up to remind me to return so I didn't get into trouble down the line. This company *gets it.* Their product is premium and costs a premium price but it's superior and they sell it marvelously. 5 stars. If every other company in Moldova had customer service this good they would be competing with Germany.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Horse_with_cart.jpg

sadly Moldova's early lead in the horse drawn cart market has
thus far failed to turn into long term cross-sector gains

 

 

 So those are the top 3 companies we've worked with so far. Clearly, 2 of them are remodel oriented so I expect to add entries like this as we go. Do you have any great Moldovan businesses that you have worked with and want to highlight? mention them in the comments and we can include them in a future posting! a rising tide floats all boats as they say and the more good Moldovan businesses the better for all of us. 

 

For anyone who enjoys this blog AND remembers this post about how hard it is to get a loan in Moldova AND thought at that time, "wow I really wish I could give these guys like a few bucks and get a t-shirt or something cool back" then I have a solution for you!! We are running an Indiegogo to help cover the startup costs of our business! You can click here to take a look at our page. Watch our pathetic attempt at a promotional video and support us in return for some cool perks!

If none of that applies to you just click on the following picture. There's candy there: 

b2ap3_thumbnail_SH_Logo.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tagged in: Good Guys
(Site Admin, Entrepreneur, Contributor)
David is a native of the great Commonwealth of Virginia and lived there through high school in Fairfax County. After high school he pursued a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta Georgia. During his studies his traveled to Singapore for a semester and gained a respect and love for traveling and immersing in different cultures. After graduation David joined the United States Peace Corps and was posted first in Kazakhstan as an English Teacher and later in Moldova as a Community and Organizational Development Consultant.

When not working on his startup David can be found maintaining various web based side projects (check out: salutmoldova.org) and working on his 1986 Lada Жигули 2101 named Надя (Nadia).

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