Return"Watching Customers Grow Generates a Special Connection" | An Interview with Marita Moro, Manager of the Montana Shop Barcelona - Gràcia
Six years ago it seemed like a crazy idea to open a second Montana Shop in Barcelona. Time has proved the doubts wrong, and the Montana Shop Barcelona - Gràcia has become, more than an effective point of sale, one of the most endearing establishments in the emblematic Gràcia neighborhood. Since the project got under way, Marita Moro has been at coal face helping to give this Montana Colors flagship store its unique identity. We hear from the lady herself as she gives us a virtual tour of this very special store.
What is a normal day like working at Montana Shop Barcelona - Gràcia?
La Vila de Gràcia is a neighborhood with a strong identity. I remember, 20 years ago, walking through the narrow streets and noticing the smell of turpentine from the art workshops dotted around the district in an atmosphere of creativity that still persists, despite the process of gentrification happening in the area.
A really wide range of customers come through the doors of the shop. Apart from our usual clientele made up of graffiti writers and artists, we welcome a lot of people from production companies and advertising agencies, as well as professionals of all kinds, from sheet metal workers to canvas painters, artisans, window dressers, florists and even jewelers. Not to mention mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, friends, dogs and even rabbits!
Who works with you at the shop?
At the Montana Shop Barcelona - Gràcia we have Xavi aka Noble and Javi who writes Dirty. There’s a very good understanding between the three of us: when there is joy, respect and love, the rest flows like water. And both have one important thing in common: they have a great level of artistic talent, sensitivity and knowledge of the products that is reflected in our customer service.
With two MTN stores in the same city, it might seem that they are in competition, but it turns out that they aren’t. How do you explain it?
Both stores work in synergy and complement each other. For example, every day the phone rings a couple of times to ask us about stock and availability of products, they help us with products that we’ve run out of, so that the customer always has what they are looking for. Together, we create the harmony of an unstoppable family.
What are the biggest differences between Montana Shop Barcelona - Gràcia and Born?
The Born store is like the mothership, it was the first Montana Colors store. Both stores have managed to position themselves and find their own identity in an organic way. For example, the Montana Shop Barcelona - Gràcia offers a wide variety of workshops, both for adults and children, which we carry out in the Art Greenhouse, a unique, and spectacular space, where clients can relax and spend time drawing, looking at magazines and books or simply enjoying the small oasis that has been created with plants picked up from the neighborhood.
Something also differential and remarkable, would be that Montana Shop Barcelona - Gràcia was the first self-service spray paint store when it opened in 2016! Which I’d say makes a big difference. The self-service model implemented in the store has been replicated in the other newly created stores around the world.
On the other hand, Montana Shop Barcelona - Born is a great visit, because the mothership is flanked by two satellites that complete a unique experience, offering the possibility to eat a delicious vegetarian menu at Montana Café, stock up on supplies from the Shop and get inspired by a visit to the Gallery.
What does the Gràcia neighborhood have that makes it different from the rest of Barcelona?
In the Vila de Gràcia we say that we have a fishing district called Barcelona!
It’s an area located near the center of the city but that has its own idiosyncrasy and personality. A few days ago, a client from California was surprised at the differences he found comparing Gràcia to other neighborhoods in the city, with so many messages on the walls, with so much to express. It’s a very creative, bohemian and charismatic neighborhood; at the same time, welcoming and family-friendly.
What does the Montana Shop Barcelona - Gràcia bring to the area?
Montana Colors provides tools to express and continue creating, and Vila de Gràcia is itself a historically artistic and revolutionary neighborhood. We also collaborate and actively participate in the Festa Major de Gràcia, which is a local festival held every summer. It’s an entire institution in the country in terms of popular culture, and has more than 200 years of history: we’ve even won the odd award for the best street decoration, which is one of the most important aspects of the festival.
Each year, the streets are decorated with different themes, and there’s fierce competition between them to get recognized as the best. In many of these streets, our products are used to produce installations and artistic creations that are seen by more than two million visitors each year.
Throughout the rest of the year, Saturdays at Montana Shop Barcelona - Gràcia are lovely. In the mornings there is a great family vibe, when there are children's workshops, everything turns into a party of colors and laughter, the children have fun at the workshops, the parents go for a walk around the neighborhood to have a vermouth and do some shopping. Everything works perfectly.
You have been at the store since it opened. How has the shop evolved since then?
I was there when the idea took shape. I witnessed and participated in the search for the right space in the neighborhood, saw the refurbishment of the premises first hand, and saw the project come to life. All these amazing events have made the store feel like a part of me, something I’ve experienced in a very special and personal way, as if it were a beautiful gift. Over these six years, the shop has consolidated and acquired the personality that it has today.
Seeing the most loyal clients grow, both in age and in creative maturity, generates a very special connection. We enjoy the work by artists that we pass through the store, a reflection of the path we’ve traveled on over the years: each spot of color on the patio floor is like a beautiful scar, special memories produced during hundreds of hours of workshops and activities that give our space a unique, homely and irreplaceable identity. And I could go on!
When it comes to serving customers, what do you think is more important: establishing trust or demonstrating diligent but sterile professionalism?
For sterility, we have the MTN Alcohol Spray.
The warmth and professionalism when dealing with our clients is essential, I believe that trust is reflected when you recommend one or another product to the client, when you resolve doubts they may have and advise them the best we know how. All this makes coming to the shops an experience that represents added value when you shop at the store.
What's the funniest thing that’s ever happened there?
Fun things happen every day! The presentations of books or an artist’s limited edition can, small-format exhibitions or Saint George’s Day, when we make a little contribution to the cultural activities that take place on this special day in Catalunya, stand out in a more specific way. Extraordinary, fun events that unite our public and create moments of laughter and enjoyment.
Apart from the range of products, what do you think Montana Shop Barcelona - Gràcia offers that other shops from the same sector don’t?
You get to meet myself, Javi and Xavi, of course! Hahahaha!
But, seriously, I believe that personalized customer service is something that really sets us apart, in addition to being fundamental today in the retail sector. What’s more, the self-service system brings customers closer to products in a special way, which has resulted in real change in some graffiti stores. Add that to the originality, freshness and dynamism of the people who work here, I think we have discovered a foolproof recipe that makes us a unique Montana Shop!
For all the latest events, drops and workshops from both our shops in Barcelona, make sure you follow @montanashopbarcelona on Instagram.
ShareDecember 15, 2021