Wong is Peru’s largest supermarket chain who’s first store opened in 1952 as a small cornershop in Avenida Dos de Mayo. Erasmo Wong offered his customers something other cornershops didn’t; an unsurpassable service. If a customer entered his store and didn’t find what they wanted, Wong offered to get it for them as fast as possible and as frequently as they needed for the lowest price around. For this, his store built up a loyal following in San Isidro, making Erasmo Wong, son of Chinese immigrants, a wealthy man.
The business became a family business as Erasmo took on his son Erasmo Jr. With the help of his son, the Wong empire was founded when a second store was opened on Ovalo Gutierrez in 1983. In a little over ten years, there were 5 Wong stores in Lima. These ten years were perhaps the worst in Peru’s recently history, but this didn’t stop the Wong family building the best supermarket chain in Peru.
The success of Wong allowed it to grow yet more, opening stores like Metro, Eco, American Outlet, each attacking a different niche in the market. And it isn’t stopping there.
Wong’s first store outside Lima was on the beaches of Asia, a popular area for Lima’s growing number of wealthy families to vacation. Now Wong is targeting other parts of the country. Trujillo as of 2007 is Wong’s first attempt to conquer a new city and seem to be doing it well. Those I spoke to in Trujillo see it as a “gourmet” supermarket of excellent quality with fair prices. Wong plans to open 15 new stores across the country in 2008 alone.
The reason I am such a great fan of Wong and Metro, other than that it beats Plazavea hands down on all counts, is its ethics. Wong goes out of its way to hire people with disabilities. Wong puts on public displays each year. Wong funds charities and social programs. Unlike many in Peru who make themselves wealthy, the Wong family have been raised to give back to the community who supported them.