Appliance Options Run Gamut at Chain Stores

October 3, 2008

Home appliance stores litter Costa Rica’s landscape, competing with one another not only in San José but in once remote coastal areas as well. The panoply of choices, however, can be intimidating.

Chain stores Hogar Feliz, Gollo, El Verdugo and Importadora Monge are just a few of the places to find appliances in dozens of different brands.

Many expat homeowners face a difficult choice between the cheaper appliances found here and the more expensive and familiar imported brands. In general, the old adage about getting what you pay for applies here: If you want a low-cost appliance that will serve you for the shorter term, a cheaper brand may suffice; but if you’re looking for longer-lasting quality, be prepared to pay for it.

Prices vary store by store, and often the most efficient way to get price information is the old-fashioned way: hoofing it to several different stores to see what they offer.

At Hogar Feliz, which has 19 stores in the Central Valley and the northwestern Guanacaste province, a 12-cubic-foot refrigerator by Mabe, a Latin American brand, goes for about $418. A Mabe washer also goes for $418, while an electric stove is about $356. By comparison, a General Electric stove costs about $416, while a 13-cubic-foot refrigerator is $609, a washing machine $470 and a drier $309. For information or to find the store nearest you, call 2256-3321 or visit www.hogarfeliz.com.

The difference between imported brands and regional products is more marked at Gollo stores, where a Whirlpool refrigerator goes for almost $518, while a Mabe model costs $441. An Atlas electric stove costs $363, while a Whirlpool model in a similar style is about $712. Gollo has 20 stores in the San José province alone, and about 100 more throughout the rest of the country. Many stores offer discounts for paying in cash. For store and price information, call 800-004-6556 or visit www.gollotienda.com.

Importadora Monge offers a wide selection of home appliances, including many North American brands. An Atlas refrigerator costs about $450, while a slightly larger General Electric fridge goes for about $600; meanwhile, an Atlas electric stove costs almost $650, and a more or less comparable General Electric model $420. A combination washer-drier from Frigidaire costs about $1,100, while a Telstar brand “Tico-style” (semi-manual) washer is as cheap as $165.

The chain has more than 200 stores throughout the country, but no Web site and a central customer service line, 800-222-2000, to which it can be difficult to get through. Sales representatives say the best way to get price information is to go to a store.

El Verdugo stores offer many pricier North American brands and a smaller selection of Latin American-made appliances.

Refrigerators from Westinghouse range from $663 to $794, depending on size, in a store in downtown San José. LG fridges go from $469 to $829, and cheaper Atlas brand refrigerators sell for $345 to $627. In washers, a General Electric costs $445, a Frigidaire $485 and LG machines from $485 to $543, depending on whether they are digital or manual. A Whirlpool dryer costs about $374.

El Verdugo has about 50 stores in Costa Rica; for information, call 2437-4100.

 

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