Department Stores in Panama – Madison

“Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping.”

After getting settled into my new house in Pedasi it was time to do a little “nesting.”  The closest shopping center to Pedasi is about an hour away in Chitre.  The first stop was Madison which is like a JCPenny’s on crack.  The first floor is all shoes, women’s wear and beauty.  The second floor is men’s apparel, sporting goods and electronics.  And the third and fourth floors are home items, furniture and a small hardware section.

Perhaps I looked a little crazed, like an addict who hadn’t had her fix yet.  Or perhaps it was that I was with one of the most recognizable (and beautiful) faces in all of Panama.  My shopping guide for the day was Pucha Garcia, 10 time Panamanian surfing champion, Bronze medalist at the 2012 ISA World Masters Championships, model, entrpenuer and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  The service at Madison was impeccable.  Point at what you need/want and instatnly it is picked up and placed in your cart for you.  At one point there was two shoppers, three carts and two “handlers” with us.  Upon further research I’ve  learned that this is often the norm when shopping in Panama.  Expect to have an employee follow you around and assist you with holding items, finding the right sizes and color and making sugguestions.  It’s like a shopping trip with a built in girlfriend!

The mian purpose of the trip was home essentials and I was able to cross just about everything off my more than two page long list.  I can say without a doubt that all of your home decorating and essential needs can be met at Madison as long as you are williing to be a little flexible with color, style, etc.  I was able to stock my kitchen, bathroom and closets with all the essentials and even a few “homey” touches that make my Pedasi abode feel more like home.

A few sugguestions for those of you who’s normal standard of living may be a little higher then others (obviously I’m not talking about myself here)…

-High thread count sheets are difficult to find.  If you require anything over 350-400 bring them from home.

-Cookware can leave the ameture chef wanting more.  Not many options that aren’t aluminum and what was available in copper, stainless and high quality Teflon was pricey.

-Attractive, large and affordable storage and shelving options are hard to find.  Although there were plenty of Tupperware/ClosetMaid type options.  Be creative and you’ll be able to repurpose things (shoe racks for kitchen shelves, etc).  Check out the article on the Do-It Center for more details.

-Custom furniture made from beautiful native woods are affordable and can be made to your specific needs.  Artistry takes time so be prepared to wait.

Madison has it all at a variety of price points and quality levels.  You’ll find what you need at Madison.  With locations throughout Panama in most larger cities you’re never far from one.

Happy Shopping!