Hero Shop is almost hidden away behind the popular Mr. Chips, in Kimihurura. It’s what you would call a Take-Away smoothie shop, and smoothies, no doubt, are what Hero Shop is really known for.
Smoothies are simply blended fruit drinks made from fresh fruit, usually mixed with ice cubes, coconut milk, chocolate and honey.
Like the name already suggests, it is a simple, one-roomed and rather run down small holder shop the size of an airtime kiosk. A local carpenter was brought in to parch together the fruits display shelves, a fridge and deep freezer hauled in, and the shop went into business. That was in February this year.
Hero Shop is owned and run by a simple lady, Chantal Mujawajambo, who set out on a simple mission: to own a fresh fruit shop in Kigali. Apparently following a road trip to Uganda, she was impressed by the level of innovation employed by vendors in selling fruit salads, especially to bus travelers. She realized, too, that fruit consumption was less popular in Rwanda, with most people planting them only for sale.
“I knew nothing about smoothies since I’d never heard of or seen them. All I had was love for fruits because I know they are very healthy.”
Talking of fruit, one has a choice between mangoes, pine apple, apples, strawberries, papaya, sweet bananas, oranges and avocado from which to choose, all neatly displayed on the shelves. So one can choose to eat the fruit or have it blended into a thick juice.
They have come up with a variety of custom-made names for some of the most popular smoothies, the names usually depicting the fruit combination. On the Thursday night when I visited, I settled for the fancily named Tropical Pinango (pine apple and mango), which came chilled and so thick, I at first mistook it for yoghurt.
Other smoothie varieties on the menu include; PineCoNana (bananas and pine apple), Advogoco (avocado and mango), Berryconana (strawberry and banana), Berry-Go (strawberry and mango), and Cool Coffee (coffee and bananas), among others.
All smoothies are priced at Rwf1,500, although there is a Rwf250 discount for all locals which, according to management, is to encourage more local consumption of fruit. Otherwise, their biggest clients still remain the odd tourist or backpacker on the prowl for a fresh, healthy –and cheap smoothie.
Hero Shop has an across-the-board type of clientele, such that you would not be surprised to see a foreign diplomat’s car parked here, its driver making a buy for his boss. You will also find anything from the Kigali trend-chasers to the regular office worker to the taxi moto boys here.
Note: Hero Shop is not the sort of place to sit and lounge about while tapping free hi-fi. I had no qualms sipping my Pinango from the counter, although I’m told outside seating is coming in a few weeks time.