The is the fourth actual representation to open here in Armenia (lead by Betty Barclay - Germany, Naf Naf - France, Two Lips Shoes - US, and now Mango - Spanish). It seems that a franca-hay has franchized this spanish clothing line and he must have paid a pretty buck or two. Franchising costs 100,000 euro down in addition to the cost of purchasing the property, equipment, and a number of other things. The store is pretty small but apparently Mango tried to purchase a number of properties next door and was denied. (Prices here are sky rocketing and to purchase a store now costs between 2k-4k per square meter pending on location). They say that if dual citizenship is finally allowed that real estate prices are going to go up yet again.
I went in yesterday and clearly made a small purchase (got to help the Armenian stores, right) and was pleasantly surprised by the prices. A number of "fake" stores have opened their doors here in Armenia and sell clothing for ridiculous markups. The Victoria Secret store, for example, charges about $15 minimum for undies that cost no more than $5 in the US. The store continues to be busy and Armenians are ready to spend their money on normal priced clothing (the girls must look good, right?) It will be interesting to see what happens one month down the road when the excitement of it's opening has dwindled down.
In other news I had lunch two weeks ago at Artbridge with a few friends. The lead singer of SOAD was there and it was great to see local Armenians enamored by him as well. He seemed quite nice - giving autographs to whomever asked - pregnant ladies included!
Have I mentioned that the Hrazdan stadium now has three hard tennis courts? It is now THE tennis club here in Armenia and is being renovated to meet "international standards". Apparently sponsorship is coming from wealthy Armenians in Turkey as well as the president of the Armenian Tennis Federation. My tennis partner and I saw him play the other day at the courts and he actually had brought multiple body guards with him. Who needs body guards to play tennis? Maybe he's scared of flying balls... hmm...