Neutral Duty Free celebrates 30th anniversary


Neutral Duty Free CEO Enrique Urioste, left, and members of the company team pose for this picture at the 30th anniversary celebration in the chain’s Chuy store

Neutral Duty Free CEO Enrique Urioste gets ready to kick off the celebration with Alejandra Ramos dressed in a clown costume

It was 30 years ago on January 23, 1987 that the Uruguayan border store chain Neutral Duty Free opened its first store in Chuy, on the Uruguayan side of the border between Brazil and Uruguay.

This landmark day in Neutral’s history was celebrated in full not just in Chuy, but also throughout the month in all of Neutral’s stores in Uruguay and on social media in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.

“It’s quite a milestone,” said Enrique Urioste, Neutral Duty Free CEO in an interview with The Americas Duty Free & Travel Retailing.

The big day was on the actual anniversary date at the Chuy store where Urioste and everyone from Neutral Duty Free’s leadership team were on hand to join in the celebration.

Hundreds of people gather at Neutral Duty Free’s store in Chuy   to celebrate the chain’s 30th anniversary. Chuy is the location of the chain’s first store

Customers and friends accompanied Urioste and the Neutral Duty Free team as they toasted 30 years of success. Also present were officials of Rocha Tourism, on hand to congratulate Neutral on three decades of success and growth.

Urioste spoke about Neutral’s history and future emphasizing that the company would “continue working to be leaders in the market, giving their best to customers.”

Then those present got a taste of the 30th anniversary cake.

But the Chuy event was just the highlight. To mark the occasion, Urioste said the company engaged in “a full month of promotions” with “a very aggressive set of promotions in our stores.  Every day there is a raffle that goes on where customers are entitled to win gifts” as well as “surprise artistic events with singers and dancers who interact with customers.”

Additionally, the company gave out scratch cards with thousands of direct prizes to customers.

Customers who filled out a card with their personal information became eligible for a chance to win a raffle with prizes that included alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, fragrances, and complimentary hotel stays with dinners at different border locations.  There were also several grand prizes with goods worth up to US$5,000.

But the party is still happening online, for those who follow Neutral on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.  Neutral created an Internet landing page, (anniversary wishes) where followers can make a wish, share it on Facebook and have a chance to win their desire. There has been a winner every day to date, and there will continue to be a winner each day through January 31.

Neutral, which is headquartered in Montevideo, has nine stores along the Uruguay-Brazil border in locations with two stores each in Chuy, Rivera, and Rio Branco, as well as stores in Acequá, Artigas, and Bella Unión. The chain has a tenth store at the Islas Malvinas International Airport in Rosario in Argentina.