In the same way a bombril (think: circular, grey, steel mesh sponges) has 1,001 uses, many small stores here do, too! That’s right, I often come across small businesses whose owners seem unsure of what direction they wish to go in. A prime example is the local locadora, or movie rental place. Aside from renting out dvds, they are a cyber cafe and a barbershop. They also sell ice cream, popsicles, candy and children’s dolls. Truth be told, I go there mostly to buy popsicles, so yeah, go figure…
The other day, I came across a paper stationary store that doubles as a makeshift cafe. It had a third function but I wasn’t paying attention. Many multi-function stores fall within the “loja de conserto” (repair shop) category since they often repair unrelated items (ie, hard drives and guitars). Once, I had a neighbor who fixed computers and did macumba, though not exactly in that order.
I’m fairly sure having a single identity and a clear business plan are high up on the list of business people in the States. I’m not saying stores with multiple personalities are necessarily bad, though. They are just more prevelant here in South America.