Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sawyer’s Fresh Market, Sandy Sawyer, on Wednesday, October 14, expressed optimism about the island’s economy. Sawyer was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Sunrise. He pointed out that despite the grim outlook of Grand Bahama’s economy at present, he is hopeful and optimistic about the island’s progress in the very near future.
Located at the intersection of Midshipman and West Beach Roads, his operation, Sawyer’s Fresh Market, is in the process of constructing a second outlet, a massive food store off Midshipman Road. The new store is primarily to service persons residing on the east end of the island. According to Sawyer, the food store is only the beginning of what the company has planned for the new location.
Following his address to Rotarians, he shared with this daily an overview of the new investment.
“What I want to do is create job opportunities and, some growth opportunities in Freeport. We thought of that location, because the east (section of the island) only presently, has one store in the area, and it is a growing community. There is disposable income and so we thought that it would be a great opportunity for us to grow, in that area,” he explained.
Expansion is planned as well.
“Over time, the project will be a full shopping center with a lot of different shopping experiences. Initially, the food store will be the anchor tenant and so that will be opened first. Over a period of time, by the end of next year, you will see other stores open on the strip,” he informed.
Expressing that he is an internal optimist about Grand Bahama, he added that it is very important for all Grand Bahamians to remain hopeful and optimistic about the future of our island.
“I am from Nassau but this is where I live and I have no intention of ever going anywhere else."
With the company’s latest investment being a clear indication of his “unwavering faith” in the potential about Grand Bahama, Sawyer insisted that greater opportunities are ahead.
“We have to fix a lot of things but it is fixable and I think that we have greater opportunities ahead of us.
“It is not only the direct employment, but also, whenever you have direct employment, you also have the benefits of people being able to support other people. You usually have a multiplying effect of two to three times the number of people employed. If you put that into context, you are looking at effecting probably 200 people total; perhaps more because we are going to also look to purchase a lot of things locally, as much as we can. Whatever people can produce, and it is of good quality, we are going to look to purchase locally,” said Sawyer.
Withholding the estimated cost of the entire project, Sawyer did note that it is a considerable investment.
Giving an update on the present Sawyer’s Fresh Market store, located at the intersection of Logwood Road and Oak Street, the CEO commented that business has been good.
“We are grateful; business is good. Obviously, food is a necessity. We would love the economy to be better so that less people would have to be reliant on government support. Even though it is good that we have a government that supports people, that takes pride away from people. But, the bottom line is you would still want people to be gainfully employed, whereby they can support themselves.
“We are appreciative of the fact that we were able to stay open during the pandemic and keep our staff employed, and so we are grateful,” concluded Sawyer.
At present, Sawyer stated that there are 75 persons employed at the company.