Residents of and travellers through eastern St. Vincent can now access Coreas ACE Hardware and Coreas Pharmacy services at their new location in Diamond.
The store, which opened recently, marked the completion of phase one of the project, on which the company spent EC$6.8 million.
Coreas ACE Hardware Diamond is expected to employ 28 to 30 people, the company said.
The project entails a cement warehouse with 8,300 square feet of space capable of storing in excess of 5,000 metric tonnes of cement.
There is just over 20,000 square feet of storage area and retail store construction of 13,450 square feet, of which 10,800 is occupied by Coreas Building Supplies and another 2,600 is occupied by Coreas Pharmacy.
A Bank of SVG ATM is expected to be installed at the location soon.
“This venture has been a long time coming. But we know it’s all about timing and we are confident that this is the right time,” Jean Johnney-Findlay, manager of Coreas Pharmacies told the opening ceremony.
She quoted US business magnate Warren Buffett as saying “don’t invest in something you do not understand”.
“Coreas Hazels Inc. and our parent company Goddard Enterprises Ltd. are tried, tested and have survived over 100 years of business, including many challenging times. Us being here today is testimony to our understanding the nature of this business.”
Johnney-Findlay said Coreas Hazells Inc. is guided by seven core values: integrity, service, excellence, innovation, continuous improvement, dedication, inspirational leadership and accountability.
“This project embodies all of them and help us to achieve more as good corporate citizens.”
Meanwhile, Brian George, divisional manager of Coreas Building Supplies Ltd., said the company went through many strategic meetings and many iterations before finally agreeing on the scope and design of the project.
“This project, on paper, went from 8.9 million to 3.55 million to 3.85 million to 4.9 million to 7 million. I think there’s actually one of the books of over 20 million,” he said.
George said that with each review, the company considered significant changes necessary as it tried to find the best solution without compromising on quality and standards.
“We contemplated multiple floors, multiple buildings, multiple phases. However, we ultimately concluded our decisions on project scope and design on Phase One in early 2022,” George said.
“I’m proud to boast that the project was managed totally in-house by in-house staff and our in-house team. Practically everyone engaged on this project is local and we’re very proud of that fact.
George noted the investment has improved the aesthetics of the area.
“I am sure that many of you will remember the old derelict unsightly building and the overgrown lands that hitherto occupied the property in Diamond,” he said.
“This has been replaced by modern high-quality, aesthetically-pleasing, area-enhancing retail store, meeting international standards with spacious aisles, bright colours, high-quality, well-priced products and quality customer service. Not to forget the additional benefits such as ample convenient parking that should not be taken for granted.”
The store is in addition to Coreas Ace outlets in Kingstown, Arnos Vale and Pembroke, and offers customers access to all of the company’s products.
“This location previously primarily sold commodity items: cement, steel, lumber etc. This has been expanded to include a full light hardware store and our full range of products and the tile centre with relaxing ambience where customers can browse in comfort, spacious aisles as they make the choices. It continues our model of one-stop-shopping in convenient, accessible locations,” George said.
At the opening ceremony, Kevin Dickson, country lead of Coreas Hazells Inc., announced that the company will sponsor a community project in the area.
“So, we are asking persons in the community, bring your ideas to us, we will set up a small committee to review what you want to do … But we’ll definitely do something in the community. Submit projects and we’ll select the best one and work along with the community,” Dickson said.