Online supermarket gains popularity amid COVID-19
Co-owner of Gorchum Fresh, Amy Low-A-Chee (centre), with some of her employees at one of their locations (Adrian Narine photo)
Co-owner of Gorchum Fresh, Amy Low-A-Chee (centre), with some of her employees at one of their locations (Adrian Narine photo)

AS the world navigated the COVID-19 pandemic last year, most persons focused on the disadvantages that came with it, but quick-thinking entrepreneurs saw the boundless opportunities that existed to capitalise on the conditions that prevailed as a result of the necessary control measures which were implemented to curb the spread of the disease.

One such entrepreneur is 26-year-old Amy Low-A-Chee, who is behind Guyana’s first fully online supermarket, Gorchum Fresh, which was launched in June.

“When COVID hit, we established the idea to have an online supermarket so that persons won’t have to come out of their homes and be at risk. We decided to bring the store to their doors, with shopping made easy from the comfort of their homes.

“So, we started to build on it last year, and we officially launched in June and got our first sale in July,” Low-A-Chee shared in a recent interview with the Guyana Chronicle.

Operating at, and offering free delivery across all three counties, the supermarket offers all the benefits of getting your groceries with none of the regular hassle.

“Just imagine on days when you work late or barely have time for errands how incredibly convenient it is to just order your groceries online,” Low-A-Chee related.

She added: “There are so many benefits that a virtual grocery shopping trip brings. There’s no parking, cashier lines, hygiene worries, or wasted time going up and down the aisles. All persons need to do is visit our site, register and they can start shopping from the comfort of their homes, offices or once on the go from their smartphones.”

The business’ main location is in Gorchum, Mahaica, which is where the supermarket derived its name. However, the store also has bond locations at several sites across the country including in Essequibo, La Grange and Ogle, with an outlet expected to be set up soon in Linden.

Through the website, persons could browse the various categories of goods and simply add things to their cart; this is similar to how they could browse the physical aisles in a supermarket with a shopping cart. After deciding on what they need or want, persons simply check out and pay for their groceries on delivery.

The prices of the items are already listed. The site also has a number of deals with special discounts, and new products which are added every day.

Aside from regular groceries, persons could also purchase household supplies, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, hardware, as well as produce and meats.

Since its launch, the supermarket has already seen hundreds of persons registering for the service. And, on average, the business has been processing 20 orders per day.

Low-A-Chee said that watching the business grow and seeing how satisfied customers are with the service have been ‘rewarding’.

“Majority of our feedback is very favourable, and it’s a pleasure seeing that, being able to serve the needs of our customers and help to keep them safe… it’s really rewarding,” she expressed.

But, as is the case with any business, it’s not all rewards and glory. Low-A-Chee said that even though she loves being a business person, it’s not all good times.

“You have to work a lot of hours, and the effort that you have to put in, its hard work. You don’t get days off. With this business, it’s been seven days a week, 24 hours a day, because we do have an online chat and whatever time people come on you have to be there,” she related.

Additionally, the business has also suffered its share of losses during its start up

“A big challenge that we would’ve faced was goods expiring a lot. That’s basically one of the main challenges, and a big a financial loss. We do have another company so we get a brace from that, and we know that Gorchum will not be profitable for now. But we plan four-five years for it to be profitable,” Low-A-Chee related.

This, however, has not affected the businesswoman’s optimism, as she has hope that her innovative business will move from strength to strength.

In her vision for the future of the supermarket, she is also hopeful of adding an importing department where various brands could be sourced and promoted. She also hopes to keep things affordable in order to keep consumers interested.

“We try to ensure we are cheaper than majority of supermarkets, and, basically, all our purchases are done locally. However, we have future goals of bringing in our own brands and so forth,” Low-A-Chee related.


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