CROATIA. Seva Group yesterday celebrated the Grand Opening of the company’s first duty free store, a border shop in Metković some 200 metres from the road crossing into Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Moodie Davitt Report was the sole media to attend, joining leading suppliers, company officials and local VIPS for the opening.
A day of celebrations began with a visit to the Dutch group’s 4,300sq m bonded warehouse in Ploče (which will be doubled in space next year), followed by the inauguration of the Seva Duty Free store at a ceremony by the city’s Deputy Mayor.
Guests then crossed the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina for a memorable evening at Seva Group’s Rubis winery, near the city of Mostar.
Seva Group Founder and Owner Severino Pusic told guests that the opening represented a landmark for the company, the first duty free store for the fast-growing real estate to wines & spirits distribution company. Already, he said, plans are in place for further stores.
The store majors on local and international wines & spirits (including an outstanding single malt offer), tobacco, food & confectionery, destination merchandise and convenience items with a small but growing beauty business.
The crossing handles around 2.8 million travellers per year. The store caters to international tourists travelling from Croatia coast to the Bosnian interior as well as regional visitors bound for the beautiful Croatian coastline. An average of around 6,000 people per day cross the Metković border in high season, while there is year-round traffic from visitors making pilgrimages to Medjugorje.
Renowned Bosnian author Ivo Andrić once said, “Žilavka is full of laughter while Blatina is full of sweet transgression.” That probably explains the non-stop merriment of an enchanted evening and, hey, if we transgressed by knocking back a few too many glasses of red, it was indeed the sweetest of mistakes.
Average transaction value in the few days since last week’s soft opening is around €22.40, driven by strong Russian and Asia spending.
Seva Group, based in The Netherlands, has multiple distribution operations in the Balkans, and sales offices in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.
The pride and passion of Seva Group management and staff shone through at yesterday’s opening, which Pusic admitted had been a major test for the company.
What also stood out was the group’s professionalism and ambition, reflected also in the state-of-the-art Ploče warehouse and the magnificent Rubis winery.
We’ll bring you pictures and details of both those facilities in a fuller online report in coming days and in our Cannes show edition of The Moodie Davitt Report Print and Online Magazine.