by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Alexis Food Stores, a franchise of Save-A-Lot, opened in Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
- 2nd phase to include a restaurant and other business services
- Wants local farmers to get in contact because they are using up a lot of local produce
Opening its doors last December, Alexis Food Stores, a franchise of Save-A-Lot, an American discount supermarket chain, is breathing new life into the southern tip of Carriacou.
Located in Tyrell Bay, the new state of the art shopping facility is just the start of what is expected to be a multi-million dollar shopping plaza. The facility lies adjacent to the preceding Alexis Supermarket in Tyrell Bay which was started 20 years ago by Theodore Alexis. The business was then handed over to his son, Tardi Alexis 5 years ago when the vision to expand into a shopping complex was conceptualised.
The business started with the idea to supply Carriacouans with quality food items at a more affordable price. Alexis says the expansion of the supermarket has added 14 new jobs on Carriacou and he intends on providing more jobs once the project is completed. “Previously we had 5 employees, currently we are at 14 and we looking to employ more people. We would like local farmers to get in contact with us because we are using up a lot of local produce.”
Alexis Food Stores imports 60% of its food items from Save-A-Lot, with 40% supplied by local farmers. Alexis hopes the supermarket can increase the percentage of products purchased locally.
Funding for this facility in the region of EC$3.5 million was provided by the Grenada Cooperative Bank. Duty-free concessions were also made available for the importation of construction equipment through the Government of Grenada.
Alexis said plans are in motion to start the 2nd phase of the project by the end of this year to include a restaurant and other business services. “As you see we haven’t completed the entire project; what we have plans to do is a shopping complex to include other stores. We have a restaurant at the front; we have Grenada Cooperative Bank occupying another section of the building. Digicel is also interested, and other businesses are interested as well, so hopefully, by the end of this year we should see a lot more construction taking place.”
Already the supermarket is experiencing a buzz from customers who are thrilled to have a state of the art supermarket with a wide variety of food supplies. Some loyal customers took the opportunity to express their satisfaction with service provided by the new facility.
Betty Galland said, “We have been coming here for years, and Carriacou really needs a beautiful shop like this. They have really done us proud, this is what we needed and got, so thank you.”
Natasha Taylor said, “It is wonderful that Alexis Food Stores has come to Carriacou because it offers a wide variety of products especially the fresh fruits and vegetables and there is a nice array of toiletries and deodorants which are a little bit difficult to get on the island. But now it is good. We can access good product lines that we usually have to go to Grenada to get. Now they are available here.”
Brendalyn Jack said, “The facility is lovely too, believe me, sometimes I feel like I am shopping in America because of the look of the place. I was shocked when I came back to Carriacou to see the development that took place here, and it makes me feel [happy]. Normally I come to Carriacou twice a month, now I plan to come 3 times a month.”
Alexis said he is grateful to get this level of feedback from the public and promises to exceed the expectation of customers once the project is complete. “People have been complaining over the years of high food prices and that they cannot get what they are looking for and have to go to Grenada to get certain items. We [are] trying to bring quality foods at a reasonable price to the people of Carriacou. I think that Carriacou is developing.”
Speaking during the opening of the facility last December, Senator Norland Cox underscored the importance of having such an investment placed on sister isle of Carriacou. “As a government, we want to indicate that the Alexis franchise plays a key role in spurring economic activities in Carriacou and we will do everything legally to ensure that this business strives successfully.”