It all started in Derb Omar. Abdeslam Benghanem, founder of Alpha 55, one of the oldest self-service stores in Morocco, started from scratch. Arrived from Fez in 1959, the founder started his commercial activities in a stall of a few square meters, dedicated to the sale of scarves (imported from Italy and France).
A decade later, this great adept of travel develops his business by launching the “Big Solder” on Mustapha Mâani in Casablanca. A key address in the 70s. “The success was such that customers lined up in the street,” says Mehdi Benghanem, CEO and son of the founder who took over the torch.
A few years later, the 600 m2 store became too small compared to Benghanem’s ambitions. Following his wanderings, Abdeslam Benghanem finally finds inspiration in Japan. Hence the birth of the new concept that has marked generations: Alpha 55. “It was time to expand, so my father has acquired not far from this site a vacant lot that would accommodate the current Alpha 55,” says Benghanem.
The building, entirely made of reinforced concrete, was designed by Louis Riou, a famous architect of the time (having also designed the headquarters of the OCP and Mohammed V stadium). In 1979, the new store of 10,000 m² is launched in the city center. Since then, the success was immediately at the rendezvous. This pioneer of distribution has once again been right.
At the time, 4 floors of the store were devoted to ready-to-wear (male/female). According to the “just in time” principle, which large retailers (like Zara) apply today, collections were frequently renewed. “My father, who traveled often, brought back models that he reproduced in Morocco. And it was he who was a forerunner in the land of just in time,” says the son of the founder, not without pride.
A team of about fifteen stylists and designers is responsible for making and adapting models to local tastes. The recipe took during the 80’s and 90’s, but again, the market has evolved. During the last decade, the accent is mainly on the house side (decoration, kitchen, bathroom, accessories …). “For the past two years, I have been closely involved with social networks to better meet the needs of our customers,” says the CEO of the brand.
The collections are changed according to the events (on the occasion of the return, the holidays, Eid El Adha, Ramadan, Halloween …). Showcases display a different theme every month. Two dedicated teams take care of the design and layout of the windows. The organization of shelves inside the store is regularly reviewed to attract more customers.
“40 years ago, my father Abdeslam had launched a daring bet by opening Alpha 55 and he was the pioneer in his field. Today we are here to perpetuate this vision and success,” said Mehdi Benghanem.
The top management of Alpha 55 is now negotiating a new turn by launching its second store at Anfaplace Mall. An investment of MAD 20 million with 45 jobs in the key (which add to the existing 120) on an area of more than 12,000 m² (10,000 in the city center and 2,000 in Anfaplace). “We are also planning launches in other cities,” said the CEO without providing more details.
The flagship store of Mers Sultan will not be neglected. A refurbishment and renovation operation is planned. And to solve the problem of parking, chronic downtown, management has reserved 200 seats at the new parking Rachidi (Nevada) for its customers. Another parking lot, that of the place Mohammed V (under the fountain), is located not far from Alpha 55. Cherry on the cake: carmen also take care of the parking lots in the neighboring streets.