June 29, 2012
New Supermarket opens at Pembroke

For those living on the Leeward side of the island, grocery shopping is often a hassle – having to make the trek into the capital, battle with other frustrated shoppers for parking space, then endure long queues to make purchases.{{more}}

But as of June 27, that particular issue became a thing of the past for Leeward residents, with the opening of a new branch of Greaves Supermarket in Pembroke.

The family-owned franchise opened its doors to the public and the media for browsing on Monday, with management on hand to show them around the new facility and answer questions.

Valerie Minors-Isaacs, who sits on the board of directors, said that although the process – from excavation to building completion – was stressful, she and her family are elated at this latest addition to their business empire.

“I’m overwhelmed,” she stated. “We just responded to the needs of the people of Leeward.”

Minors-Isaacs said that excavation at the site in Pembroke began in February 2010, and that she hopes that the new supermarket will generate much-needed development in the area.

Debra DeNobriga, also on the board of directors, said that when their father, C.K Greaves, opened a bakery in 1960 at Arnos

Vale (now Sunrise Supermarket), his establishment was the only one there at the time.

Leila Greaves, family matriarch and managing director, recalled that people thought her husband was “crazy” to open a business in an area with such low population at the time.

“We opened with no houses around. We bought two bread vans – one went to the Windward and one went to the Leeward,” said Greaves.

She also hopes that the new supermarket helps to generate development in Pembroke and surrounding areas, in the same way that her husband’s bakery did for Arnos Vale.

Greaves also said that she welcomes other business owners to ‘set up shop’ in the region – even if they also open supermarkets.

“We don’t want to hog the whole thing, but they will have to compete with us!” she said proudly.

The newly opened branch boasts a modern, spacious and aesthetically-pleasing interior, with more cash desks than the other locations, and generous parking space. It also offers a wider range of products – both imported and sourced locally.

Parliamentary representative for South Leeward Nigel ‘Nature’ Stephenson also attended the ‘walk through’ on Monday. He said that he was “delighted” by the benefits that the new supermarket branch has created for his constituents.

“It creates employment directly for young people…who have been home, very frustrated,” explained Stephenson.

The supermarket will employ approximately 65 workers, with scope for more in the future.

He added: “There’s [also] a partnership that has been developed between the entrepreneurs and the farmers in the nearby community.”

He explained that a policy has been established, whereby all of the fresh produce sold in that branch will only be supplied by farmers in the Leeward vicinity.

“One of the problems we have here is a [lack of] market, which is a deterrent to a lot of farmers…This is going to provide them with a guaranteed market,” said Stephenson.

Arnhim Eustace, leader of the Opposition, who also attended the ‘walk through’, said that in particular, this policy would be a boost for the little-known Pineapple Growers Association.

Both Stephenson and Eustace agreed that the opening of this new branch would generate investment in the area, especially among business owners.

“Investment is a bit tight now,” said Eustace. “I’m hoping that over time, the economy will improve, therefore, giving further justification for this kind of project.”

Eustace also highlighted a need for Vincentians to buy more local produce, and for farmers to diversify their crops.

“I see so many benefits stemming from this. In a very difficult time, you’re getting a boost in employment. That’s very critical,” he added.

Family matriarch Leila Greaves said that when she and her husband started their business, she never imagined that it would have succeeded in the way that it has now. Despite her husband’s passing in 1996, she said she was “proud” that her children have continued his legacy.

She even hinted that there may already be plans in motion to open another branch on the Windward side of the island.

Greaves also dispensed some pearls of wisdom to the future generation of entrepreneurs: “I’ll tell any young person – you have to have that drive to succeed in life. Put your all into it. Don’t be afraid of hard work!”