Starting shoe import firm took nearly a year

American expat Wayne Winstead began a small sporting shoe business after nearly a year of maneuvering through Costa Rica’s nightmarish red tape procedures. For the past four months his company, Blue Goose, has sold running footwear imported from China.

He started the licensing process last August before having to register his company with the Registro Nacional. Winstead said it took a few months for the registration to be processed but when it was finalized no state authority alerted him that his document was ready. Then he went to China to find a factory and hire a producer. Production time combined with shipping from the factory takes about 100 days, he said.

“It’s just a lot of waiting time more than anything,” said Winstead about starting a small business in the country. He added that there is an excessive amount of red tape and notorious tax rates.

Currently, Winstead says his shoes are in the process of getting the green light to go through Costa Rican customs. He has to pay a 13 percent tax on his imports ahead of time, he said.

The Chinese factory that supplies the brightly designed sports shoes is located just outside Fuzhou, a port city on the country’s southeast.

Winstead plans to start selling soccer shoes at the beginning of September.

With prices for the running shoes listed at 32,000 colons, or $59, its a cheaper option locally than brand name counterparts like Nike or Adidas. “You can buy two of ours plus have lunch,” Winstead said.

The small business owner who’s headquartered in San José said he plans to branch out into Colombia and Nicaragua in the future. He added that he is working on securing a deal with a retailer, but that his operation benefits from not having to pay a distributor or house a large office full of workers.

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