Solomon’s has ‘exceeded expectations’
Despite a few “teething problems”, the AML chief says the grand opening of the $5.3 million Solomon’s Fresh Market has “exceeded expectations” in terms of sales and reviews from consumers.
The anchor of the emerging Old Fort Bay Town Centre actually ran out of food in the much-anticipated prepared food section of the store – and management plans to open an hour earlier to accommodate the demand.
“We’re not surprised,” said Gavin Watchorn, the CEO of AML Foods.
“We designed this to be a destination store. It’s for people who want a different lifestyle that includes healthy products and non-conventional options. As a company we are very proud of this.”
Reporting customers from all corners of New Providence, Watchorn felt the response proves that the general public is undeterred by distance and has responded to better shopping options in Nassau.
Not everything went exactly to plan, however.
“We had some issues with the scales and some operating systems that decided not to talk to each other,” Watchorn reported. “But we’re working on our way through these problems and we appreciate customers being patient with us.”
Likewise, running out of prepared food and switching the opening time in the morning from 8 a.m. to 7 a.m. required the company to respond and listen to its customers, he added.
Another recent setback at AML Foods, Watchorn said, was a small fire in the meat freezer at their store location in Freeport. He expects the store to reopen “in a day or two”, but for now it remains shut as the location undergoes inspections and repairs.
He explained that the fire was caused by an electrical fire in one of the blowers.
But Freeport is the least of the company’s problems, as AML Foods enjoys the early success of Solomon’s and seeks to ensure it runs smoothly.
Watchorn said he has actually based himself at the Old Fort Bay Town Centre for the forseeable future just to troubleshoot and supervise the store.
This month, Guardian Business exclusively received a tour of Solomon’s Fresh Market ahead of its opening last weekend. The store is the first business to open in the new $30 million project by the New Providence Development Company, which is expected to service thousands of residents in the western part of the island.
Solomon’s is targeting a niche market by offering organic, higher-quality products while stocking conventional goods already represented in local shops.
A fresh seafood counter, bakery, butcher, pre-cooked food area, coffee shop and 150 different types of organic produce are features of the new supermarket.