– Finance Minister urges company to support local
ONE of the largest business conglomerates in the Caribbean, Massy Group, has opened a “Massy Stores Mega” in the MovieTowne compound at Turkeyen.
The store, which is the second Massy Mega and the 49th Massy Store in the Caribbean, was opened with the aim of transforming the local shopping experience.
Minister of Finance Winston Jordan, while congratulating the company for its efforts, noted that Massy Stores must work with local farmers, manufacturers and distributors to promote local products and produce. “I have been to several supermarkets and I have seen the contempt with which local products are treated. This cannot continue. We are no one’s cash cow. I reiterate: we welcome all investments. But partnerships between the foreign investor and the locals must be encouraged and developed as an integral part of doing business in Guyana,” said Minister Jordan in his remarks during the opening ceremony on Wednesday.
The minister said he is looking forward to the development and growth of a symbiotic relationship between Massy Stores and local suppliers.
He asserted that supermarkets must avoid becoming centres of imported products, especially those that can readily be sourced locally – whether it is bottled water, packaged roti or sugar cake. Such actions have the effects of pushing the “small man” out of business, thereby aggravating the unemployment situation; damaging the cultural and culinary psyche; and leaking foreign exchange.
“I hope our forthcoming Local Content legislation will provide clarity to this very important requirement. Partnership and profit are not anathema; it is a win-win for all. Supporting local producers while balancing variety, cost and convenience works out best all round.
“The farmer that has a contract with Massy Stores to supply pumpkins is assured of a ready market and can, therefore, cultivate his crop and look forward to an assured income. Timely assistance to the farmer, through extension services provided by our Ministry of Agriculture would ensure that Massy Stores is supplied with fresh produce of a high standard and quality,” said Minister Jordan.
While supporting local, he said Massy Mega must also seek to distinguish itself from other supermarkets through its offer of a wide range of alternative, biological and organic products.
With rising household incomes, the Guyanese customer is expected to become increasingly sophisticated in their shopping habits and demands.
“I daresay that your company’s expansion in Guyana is evidence of the confidence that you repose in the economy’s future. Our Government does not see you as carpetbaggers, a derogatory term associated with scallywags and ‘no goods’ that was used by an increasingly frustrated and irritated Opposition Leader to describe investors coming to Guyana,” said Minister Jordan.
In his remarks, Chairman of Massy’s Integrated Retail Business Unit, David Affonso said Massy Mega offers a unique format to customers.
The mega format is much like the warehouse or club shopping experience which has become popular in the USA, where customers have the option to purchase a wide variety of items in larger quantities at very affordable price points. The big difference with Massy Mega is that there are no membership fees, all are welcome.
“This store represents a deepening of our investment in this market, it is also evidence of our continued commitment to Guyana and more so to the people of Guyana who we proudly serve,” said Affonso. “Our choice of location at MovieTowne was another important convenience. This location is a hub of entertainment and provides customers with many options at one location…world-class cinemas, premium dining options and now with Massy Mega, an exceptional shopping experience,” said Affonso.
He said Massy Mega is a one of a kind retail location, which significantly diversifies the country’s retail space in several ways. “We have always strived to deliver the highest quality products, services and experience to our customers,” said the chairman, adding that Massy Mega offers a unique value proposition to the Guyana market.
While the Massy Stores’ Providence location delivers the traditional features of a supermarket, the Turkeyen location offers a warehouse shopping experience which spans over 34,000 square feet of retail space, with an expanded range of bulk and non-food items.
The non-food offerings include several new categories such as electronics, generators, tenting, luggage and auto accessories, to name a few. The new store also includes a bakery, pharmacy and deli.
Massy started its operations in Guyana just over 50 years ago and since then, the conglomerate has grown and is participating in industries such as information technology, automotive, gas products, industrial equipment, financial services and distribution and retail.
The company has also aligned itself to Guyana’s sustainability agenda but implementing a charge for single use plastic bags. Affonso said positive customer response has led to an 80-90 per cent reduction in the circulation of single use plastic bags from all stores across the territories in which Massy operates.
This reduction in the use of single use bags resulted in over 40.5 million bags being removed from circulation across the Caribbean last year alone. The positive customer response was also merit in the increased use of reusable bags and over the last year Massy has put one million reusable bags into circulation across the Caribbean.
The Massy Group which has been in operation since 1923 is a diversified regional conglomerate with operations throughout the Caribbean basin, Colombia and South Florida.
The Group employs over 11,000 people in its retail, distribution, automotive and industrial equipment, energy and gas products, financial services and other business sectors. With over 60 operating companies across six business segments comprising Massy Holdings, the Group can leverage significant synergies and deliver greater growth and value for stakeholders. Massy is a public company which is traded on the Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange.