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Muharram Bey, Alexandria, Egypt.
Home Centre: All-In-One Furniture Store in Alexandria
Located inside of Alexandria City Centre, Home Centre is massive furniture and home accessory department store franchise that offers everything you could possibly need for your house.
As the only branch to open in Egypt so far, the Alexandria branch of Home Centre is massive and divided into several spaces. One large part of the store is divided into spaces for kitchen accessories, bathroom accessories and so on, while the other part is filled with bedroom sets, living room sets and children’s furniture.
As you enter Home Centre, the front right side of the department store displays garden furniture mostly arranged in sets, so you can choose from a set of a wooden table with eight wooden folding chairs for 4500LE or a set of one wicker couch, two wicker seats and a coffee table for 10,000LE. You can also purchase a gazebo or a wicker chaise longue, or perhaps an air revitalizing system, if that’s your thing.
Further into the space, you’ll find the space divided into prints, frames and mirrors on one side and kitchen utensils and accessories on the other. The prints come in all sizes and start at around 40LE up to 200Le for the largest size. Some prints are quite funky and interesting, including pop-art prints of Audrey Hepburn and Michael Jackson, as well as photographs of iconic landmarks in New York City and London.
Wall clocks and alarm clocks are also available in all sizes for around 200LE, while further along, a large selection of table lamps, light fixtures and chandeliers is versatile and includes kid-friendly choices as well as rather flamboyant chandeliers. Table lamps reach up to 500LE while chandeliers range between 600LE and 1200LE.
On the other side, you can find everything you could possibly need for your kitchen, from moderately priced pots and pans of all sizes, to salt and pepper shakers, rolling pins, cutting boards, table mats, Pyrex dishes and plastic food containers. Most of these items are under 100LE.
Once you’re past the selection of door mats, rugs and shag carpets, you’ll find the bathroom section, with everything from plastic shower curtains to clothes hampers and bathroom soap holder sets. The clothes hampers come in various pretty colours ranging from baby blue to baby pink, and include a few wicker baskets with pretty fabric lining that could also work as clothes storage baskets.
If your mind is already hurting from all the items you’ve browsed, your next section is the curtain and curtain rod section, which has a few horrendous designs and a few passable options. Further on, you can find duvets, duvet covers, sheets, pillows, throw cushions and cushions, as well as a kids’ section with everything from the bed to the bedding and wallpaper stencils.
When it comes to the furniture itself, you’ll find several living room sets of couches with chairs and tables for around 4000LE and upwards in materials that range from cotton to leather. You can find two-seater couches for around 2000LE, as well as pull-out beds and lazy boys. The rest of the space focuses on bedroom sets, where you can literally buy everything except for the walls themselves.
At the front of the shop, you’ll find more home accessories including a large collection of sweet-smelling candles, bath soap sets and wall decorations. Sets of china plates, cups, mugs and tea sets are for sale, with each item sold separately or in a set if you choose.
The colours at Home Centre are bright, young and funky, with most materials either plastic or china. It's not the best quality that you'll find in Egypt, nor are the prices as low as you'd wish them to be, but you do find good deals here and there. The shop seems to be catering to young customers with its furniture's patterns and versatile products that fit in anywhere.
The common notion in the Egyptian market that the word ‘Imported’ stands for good quality has lead many business owners to neglect Egyptian-made products and even take pride in offering the costumer the imported ones. Now that almost everything we buy has been manufactured abroad, one can’t help but be impressed when finding quality products with the label ‘Made in Egypt’.
Among the local brands that are swimming against the tide, Inca & Co. offers a variety of furniture textiles and fabrics, which are designed by Egyptian artists and mostly manufactured in Egypt. Located on 26th of July Street next to Drinkies in Zamalek, the spacious shop well-organised and efficiently set-out. On the left, is a collection of fabrics is displayed on wall-mounted metal tubes, while other products, like cushions, are shelved on the other side. At the centre of the shop, a number of swatch books are displayed on a rectangular island.
One of the collections that can be found in the swatch books is ‘The Road to Marrakesh’, whose relatively light fabrics can be perfect for beach house furniture. From this collection, we liked a white fabric embroidered in black with a simple floral design (340LE per metre).
With a more complex design of flowers and birds, ‘Mexico Passion’ (460LE per metre) boasts a heavier material, durable for daily-use furniture. Not as heavy is the curtain-suitable ‘Winter Dust’ (325LE per metre), whose geometrical patterns come in various colours, including beige and light blue.
Besides fabrics, Inca & Co. has a versatile collection of products, including cushions (medium 325LE / Large 375LE), poufs (1150LE) and mattresses of different shapes and size. From the latter we liked the over-sized squared mattress (1980LE), which can comfortably take two persons, as well as a more firm mattress for a single person (890LE).
And like any Textile shop, none of the displayed items are available for instant purchasing; while the fabrics are received four days after placing the order, other products take to 10 days, which you can customise by choosing the fabric and adding tassels for an extra fee of 65LE.
In the textiles business, both durability and design are of great importance. And while Inca & Co. designs mainly cater to modern settings, the diverse collection promises good quality and taste – but at a price.