One of Downtown Nassau’s oldest operating retail shops is giving the stamp of approval for Global Port Holding’s (GPH) proposal for the redevelopment of the Port of Nassau.
Tara Morley, who is the general merchandising manager of Cole’s of Nassau and an executive member of the Bahamas Federation of Retailers, said she especially likes the support planned for artisans and small businesses.
“One of the things that’s been really great about the proposal is that it’s keeping it to the local artisans to provide a format for them to have a better opportunity,” she said.
“I think the training is really important, and that there isn’t the proposal for additional commercial retail to be going into that space, because the whole point is that we do want to engage and support the local retailers that are already in existence.”
As a part of its $250 million proposal to revamp the Port of Nassau, GPH intends to commit $5 million in micro loans to entrepreneurs to help them expand and improve their small businesses, and provide training for handicraft artists “to help them understand the retail business better, to learn how to merchandise, to learn a little about product selection and product placement, to help them elevate the service they present to cruise line guests”, according to GPH Head of Business Development for the Americas Colin Murphy.
GPH has also committed to not adding any large international retailers to its port, a part of the proposal Morley said she especially liked.
“We’ve seen a number of smaller retailers that have been leaving the downtown area, unfortunately,” she said.
“And just taking a walk down Bay Street, you can see a lack in the diversity of offering that we have in the port area, because there has been so little investment in downtown, so I think it’s fantastic that they would be making not just an investment in the port itself, but also into the greater downtown area for desperately needed beautification investment.”
During a press event on Wednesday at the offices of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation, Morley questioned Murphy on how GPH proposes to help small retailers advertise with larger cruise ships to attract passengers to the small businesses in the downtown area.
Murphy said, “Certainly when we talk to folks, they are a little upset that the cruise lines are sending people to particular stores. We’ve been talking about this and it’s something we really would like some input from the community on. But we can still have retail ambassadors, we can have signage and all sorts of things we think to drive traffic.”