IMG_0191As with many towns and cities in Mexico, things are arranged in Guadalajara in such a way that certain parts of the city consist of store upon store dedicated to the same commercial activity, effectively making these areas commercial zones of one type or another. In some ways, it may run contrary to what you’re used to seeing in your country of origin; it may seem like it would act against a proprietor’s business edge if they are selling even some of the same things as the person immediately next door and the person two doors down and the person three doors down and the folks across the street, and for the same prices; it may all make you wonder, “How do they distinguish themselves?”

There are stretches of giant garages bursting at the seams with car parts, new and otherwise – headlights, bumpers, rims, grills; rows of cleanings stores selling mops, chlorine solutions by the jug, buckets, spray-top bottles; ferretería (hardware store) next to ferretería, llantería (tire shop) after llantería, bridal boutique upon bridal boutique, curtain store touching curtain store. Whatever historical factors may have led to it, how do they all survive this way? Have the businesses banded together into small profit-sharing groups? We can’t answer that for you (yet), but while it may not appear at first blush to be the best setup for the individual proprietors competition-wise, it might make it easier for existing or would-be clients to go shopping, anyway. And in the end, there really are inevitable subtle distinctions between businesses that cause you to purchase a good or service from one and not the other, be it a slight design, quality, or price differential. We’ll be laying out more of the defacto commercial zones we’ve run across in future articles, but for now we’re going to start the conversation with muebles (that’s furniture, folks).