Ahead of its grand opening on Tuesday, April 12, PriceSmart has reported that membership for its newest club in Portmore, St Catherine, has surpassed expectations.
It also disclosed that the Portmore Club currently boasts a similar membership as the Red Hills Road location in Kingston.
Speaking at a virtual media briefing last Friday, Dhanraj Mahabir, Senior Vice President Operations, Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, USVI, Aruba said Portmore’s membership numbers indicate that the club will have a “successful operation”.
PriceSmart, headquartered in San Diego, owns and operates US-style membership shopping warehouse clubs in Latin America and the Caribbean, selling merchandise and services at low prices to PriceSmart members.
The company had been heavily promoting its new location to residents of Portmore and surrounding communities. PriceSmart also offered gifts to consumers who signed up for membership online or at its temporary office at Sovereign Village, Portmore.
PriceSmart said it made a significant investment of over US$20 million in infrastructure and will generate more than 180 direct jobs with the new store opening. Indirect positions in maintenance, construction, services and retail opportunities for small entrepreneurs have also been generated.
“This is a culmination of years of being on the ground and knowing that we wanted to get multiple locations in Jamaica. We have been trying to get this going for a long time, we were close, and the pandemic almost put a stop to it, and we didn’t do anything for a while because we were trying to learn to cope,” Mahabir said.
He added: “This is a significant milestone for the company, getting up to 50 [locations] in the Caribbean.”
The senior vice president disclosed that 18 per cent of its employees in Jamaica had received promotions following transfers to the new club.
“Having multiple locations in one market bring so much opportunity for employees. I believe 18 per cent of the employees between Portmore and Kingston received promotions because of new positions and backfilling positions,” Mahabir said.
In expressing delight at the new opportunities for employees, Mahabir said: “When you get to say to an employee that your quality of life is going to improve because you can step up into a higher earning capacity… And then you see the ownership that the employees take in putting this together, all you can do is support and cheerlead.”
The new Portmore location is led by club manager Maxine Brown who has been with the company for 19 years.