$9M retail giant to stomp U.S. shopping
With the Christmas season upon us, thousands of Bahamians will embark on a voyage to the U.S. seeking gifts for family and friends.
But a new department store near Southwest Plaza on Carmichael Road is giving nine million reasons to stay home.
Quality Home Centre, a 50,000 square-foot superstore, officially opens its doors tomorrow and begins its quest to stake its claim on a surging, up-and-coming area – just in time for a Thanksgiving “Black Friday Sale”. Indeed, the $9 million department store aims to provide an all-encompassing commercial destination amid an explosion of other residential and retail developments.
Trevor Davis, the co-owner of the store, told Guardian Business that the idea is to provide enough variety so consumers never have to jump on a plane.
“The Christmas market is huge,” he said during a tour of the new store.
“When people come here they’ll see there is no need to go to the U.S. to buy these items. Absolutely no need.”
Quality Home Centre is the second venture Trevor Davis and his brother, Don. Q Club, located on Makey Street, is a 8,000 square-foot store that offers fewer products and inspires a more “dash in and dash out” experience.
During a tour of the store, Guardian Business was given a preview of the sprawling premises. Arguably now the biggest on the island, Quality Home Centre has hired more than 80 employees ahead of the grand opening. Workers busily cleaned, put up Christmas decorations and placed merchandise on the shelves, while outside, construction workers installed the sign mounted high on the building.
It features an extensive mix of retail, including a large toys department, Christmas decorations, clothing for adults and children, hardware and paints and everyday practical items you would see in other large centers on the island. But beyond that, Davis, through his own sourcing, has tried to offer an unprecedented home decor section on the second floor.
Mirrors, lamps, tables and fixtures were being put on the shelves as Guardian Business toured this special section of the store.
On the other side, larger items such as barbecues, fridges and couches are already on display.
“Decor is a market niche,” Davis explained.
“When Bahamians travel to the U.S., there are always things you would like to send back, but you don’t because it’s too large or fragile.”
Pricing, he said, is always an issue. That’s why Davis, along with his brother, have travelled extensively and served as their our sourcing agents.
Reaching for a roll of snowman wrapping paper, he pointed to the sticker price – $6.99.
“We didn’t change the price from where we got it in the U.S., and here, you don’t pay the tax,” he told Guardian Business.
“People want quality at good prices and they don’t have the money they used to. We’re trying to capture the Christmas market.”
Davis said he is able to keep costs low through doing his own sourcing and “tough negotiation”.
“We travelled a lot and we bargained. We’ll go to suppliers who are willing to give us the best price,” he said.
Another strategy for keeping costs low is to purchase “close out items”, or products that remain from last year’s Christmas season but haven’t been sold. He explained that these items can be bought at a much cheaper price – and if Bahamians travelled to the U.S., they would also be exposed to the same merchandise.
In the end, Davis expects to have up to 40,000 products on offer at the store once its fully up and running. There will also be a food court near the exit offering sandwiches, soups and wraps to lend the store more of a “destination” feel.
Opening a store of this size might seem daunting enough, but these two brothers already have their sights on a third project down the road.
“Like other entrepreneurs we have visions and dreams,” he said.
“This is our second project and we we’d like to do more near the future.”