Romanian business and investment opportunities


Well it’s been an exciting weekend here at killing batteries headquarters in central Iasi. Since the nytimes story ran I’ve had more hits, comments and naughty offers from blog groupies in 72 hours than I received in the five months previous.

As much as I’d like to sit and discuss guidebook fees and the exact size and dexterity of my tongue all week, duty calls in the form of a magazine assignment in Kiev; trains and babushkas with spare rooms are standing by.

It should be good times.  I haven’t had a work-related nervous breakdown in over a month, but five high speed days of fact gathering in a place where the only words I know in the local language are ‘da’, ‘nyet’, and ‘babushka’ should fill the void perfectly.

As a ‘thank you’ for all your good words this weekend, I’d like to give something back by providing some insider info on lucrative, air-tight business opportunities here in Romania just waiting to be plundered by someone with the time, money and know-how. I’m talking instant riches here people, so get your financial planners on the horn and read them this:

  • Peanut butter – people here are trying to market some stuff that has the appearance of peanut butter, but the taste of runny goat cheese. I’ve introduced genuine peanut butter to some of the locals to wild acclaim, particularly with the lady-folk, some of whom were so overcome with lust-at-first-taste that I had to beat them off with a carpet swatter.  It’s possible that they were going after the jar of peanut butter rather than my tasty abs, but I doubt it.
  • Toilet paper in any color other than pink – I say this on behalf of my fellow bachelors, as we all routinely have to make that long, trek home from the market with the giant 10-roll package conspicuously under our arm because the damn thing is too big to fit into a bag. A navy blue would be nice or, dig this, camouflage! Cha-ching! Also TP that stays in one piece during a good nose-blowing (or whatever) would be aces.
  • Nature’s Miracle – These guys would have gotten plenty of business out of me this year, had the industrial strength jugs been available here in Iasi.
  • Toilet seats made from anything other than cheap, insta-break plastic – as you can see, I’ve had a notably hard time in this particular room over the past year.
  • Hostels – this is actually a critical problem. The cities of Iasi, Constanta and Timisoara in particular are in desperate need of budget accommodations. The best that any of them have now are 30 euro per night pensions and hotels, which is a crime as the simple addition of a hostel or two could blow the doors off tourism in these places. 
  • Ice cube trays – I won’t bore you with the embarrassing details of the ice cube making system that Romania has in place now, but I’m pretty sure Genghis Khan and even Tarzan had it better.
  • Any and all 50 Cent related products – the man is everywhere. Hats, jeans, medallions… why stop there? Spaghetti sauce, riding crops, tampons, go for it!

Equally, there are business opportunities that have been totally played out.      


  • Cell phones – forget it. Every peasant with a pitchfork and pigskin shoes already has one.
  • Seatbelts – to put one on is the highest form of insult to your driver. You might as well rip off his testicles (or what have you) and feed them to a stray dog.
  • Bras – I’m happy to report that the market for this modesty covering garment is delightfully thin, as are the blouses worn when one chooses to go without.

OK, chew on that for a week and send me magic powers of understanding as I try to uncover business trends and growth industries in Kiev solely through pantomime.