i have written about this before in defense of the local retailers and importers.
(being a local retailer and importer myself).
the biggest issue we face in south africa is the size of the market. i just came back from the OUTDOOR trade show in germany. to put things in perspective: i estimate there are less than 5,000 climbers in all of SA. in Germany there are 10,000,0000. that's a 10 with six zeroes. so one suburb of a city like Munich has more climbers than all of South Africa combined. so yes there are thousands of items not available in SA. but i am sure that what the SA climbing community needs and wants is in fact available. that's the nature of capitalism: if it will sell someone will surely try to import it and make a buck.
so lets see where the rubber meets the road and do a bit of comparison shopping:
breadth: No, many La Sportiva shoes are not available in SA. but the Solution, the Testarossa, the Mantis and the Scorpion are. But take a look at how many cars Fiat makes in Italy and you will see that only a fraction of all their models actually make it to our shores. But shit in our shop we havent sold a Testarossa in months because it's just so damn expensive. R2,000 for a pair of shoes is just a bit crazy in my opinion. Plus you have to wonder if Micky would actually climb any better with a pair of Miura VS. The other day Marijus told me he flashed a 7A+ boulder problem in his Evolv approach shoes. So either Evolv approach shoes are really really good or just maybe he has talent. I suspect the latter and am sure Adam Ondra would climb just as well with a pair of LaSportiva Solution or Testarossa. Or if you believe the former then you too can climb like Chris Sharma, still not too shabby
price: fact is that price sells in South Africa like nothing else. we sell literally only one high-priced LaSportiva Solution or Testarossa R2,000 shoe for every hundred Mantis or Scorpion. The latter two are actually LaSportiva models brought out just for price-sensitive markets like SA. These two aren't even sold in Western Europe or the USA, they are made cheap in Asia, not Italy, purely for cheapskates like us in South Africa! FYI, the Beal Edlinger, SA's best-selling rope, is also one of those products sold primarily in price-sensitive markets.
But let's do some price comparison shopping:
La Sportiva Solution: backcountry.com $154.90 = R1,240. Sport Schuster in Munich: E124.95 = R1,437, minus 19% VAT = 1,207. Mountainmailorder: R2,011, minus 14% VAT = R1,764. of that a large chunk is is the 1/3 duty the importer in SA also pays to Pravin Gordham. so yes the R500 extra hurts.
Evolv Pontas: Mountainmailorder price R1,190 inclusive of R170 VAT for Pravin Gordham, so net price R1,043. backcountry.com: $114.95 = R919.50. almost the same.
ropes: BlueWater Eliminator: Eliminator 10.2x60 price from Drifters in Jo'burg R1,900, minus VAT R1,634. justropes.com price $200 or R1,600. amazing. R34 difference. and you can buy it today!
back to breadth of ropes available: i noticed that www.justropes.com
stocks 6 brands of ropes, Beal, BlueWater, Edelrid, Mammut, Maxim and PMI. we got three of those brands available in SA, not bad for a market that's equivalent to one suburb of a city like Munich.
but guys keep asking and if there really is enough demand for the Miura VS we will make it happen.