According to Home Fabrics Ltd. Accounts Manager Benjamin Pinder, the Grand Bahama location, which is expected to open in October, will be the fifth and final branch for the operation.
With an investment to the tune of $2 million, Pinder said the new operation will house administrative offices, staff kitchen, staff bathrooms, a lunchroom and on-site staff quarters, when completed.
The retail section of the facility encompasses a large open floor plan, which he said, they were extremely happy to have at this location.
This daily had the opportunity to meet with Pinder, on August 16, at the new location site on Milton Street, where during a tour of the premises he revealed that management is moving toward the October 1 grand opening.
“We are excited to have a large open space for our retail area. In our other buildings we have always had to add on and it feels a bit chopped up, but now that we have started with one large open space, we are excited to bring our full line of products right off the bat.”
With two locations in New Providence, one in Palmdale and the other in Carmichael, Pinder noted that their newest location in Grand Bahama will actually be their fifth location, throughout the country.
“We have a location in Abaco, and we have a location in Spanish Wells, although it is branded differently. We do business there under the name of ‘The Islander Shop,’ because it caters a little more to our tourists’ population. But we do have a line of fabrics and crafts at The Islander Shop in Spanish Wells. This will technically be our fifth and final branch,” he stated.
In a press conference back in June of this year, along with his wife Laura and Sen. Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Pinder confirmed that the investment of the project would run into about $2 million.
Questioned on his confidence with such a major investment considering what many now consider a sluggish, near nil Grand Bahamian economy, he responded, “Something that is unique to our business is that we are a business that caters to all demographics. You do not have to be rich, to be able to shop with us. We take pride in the fact that one of the reasons that we have been in business so long is that, we pass our saving onto our customer.
“For example, if we find something that is cheap we keep the prices low and we bring it to the public and sell it. A lot of other businesses out there, if they find something off price that is an opportunity for them to increase their margins, up the prices but that is not our philosophy here. Our philosophy is to keep things priced to where we can continue turning over our inventory.
“Many were a bit skeptical of our decision to come to Freeport, but we are not so skeptical. We are not so worried. We feel that we can have an impact on the economy and run a successful business, even in what people consider a down economy.”
Asked if he is still hopeful for an October opening for his newest store location he noted, “If everything sticks to schedule, which is why I am here, making sure that it does, I think that we will.
“We are going to start setting up all of our shelving and display fixtures in September. That is something that I will be doing, and it will take me about a week. That will then give us about three weeks to stock the shelves.
“We carry over 150,000 items and each item has to have what we call ‘back tags,’ so when the item runs out we have a reorder number. It is a very meticulous process, where we have to invest the time on the front-end in order to stay organized throughout the course of business. We are looking at a one week set-up time for our fixtures and a three week stocking time. Hopefully, that will bring us right to the end of September and hopefully we can stick to that October 1 opening date,” informed Pinder.
As major renovations and construction were underway during the time of the interview, Pinder was questioned on how things were progressing regarding the process.
“Everything has been going well. I have no complaints; everyone has been very professional, and it has been very refreshing, having a project go so smoothly.
“When I say that we will be opened on October 1, we will be open but there will still be work taking place to the exterior of the building, landscaping, painting and other things to beautify the exterior. We will be opened, but we won’t be finished,” he added.
As his wife stated during their press conference in June, many of the items carried by Home Fabrics Limited are seasonal, he informed that he could not say whether they will have the full gamut of Halloween paraphernalia, but he reassured that for the Christmas season the Grand Bahama store would be fully stocked for everyone to find exactly what they are in need of for the Yuletide season.
“We are not sure if we will be able to carry our full Halloween line; we will have some Halloween items, but not the full gamut of products. However, costumers can be assured that for Christmas we will have everything.”
In terms of staff, he said that while he was on island he would conduct some interviews in hopes of filling their managerial positions. “Once we fill our managerial positions, those managers will then be able to assist in the hiring process for the sales associates.”
On June 14, during the press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister, Sen. Thompson referred to the fabric distributors expansion as “significant.”
He furthered, “I am told that Home Fabrics is the largest fabric distributor in The Bahamas and they have a number of locations. We are happy that Home Fabrics has chosen the location of their newest store will be right here in Grand Bahama.”
The family operated business has been in existence since 1976, with their first location in Nassau.