Scores of Barbadians flocked to the island’s latest brand name retail store which officially opened in Norman Centre, Upper Broad Street, Bridgetown this morning.
Sports Masters Limited, trading as the globally-recognised Converse brand, attracted mostly young people, who were seen buying up a variety of the “hot” items on sale, including jeans and shoes.
Dozens of customers periodically bounced into each other as they sought to negotiate their way around the crowded store, either to select or examine products on display.
As the curious and the buyers manoeuvred from one end of the outlet to the other, they were entertained by lively modern pre-recorded music. Among those present at today’s opening were former Minister of Industry and Small Business, Denis Kellman, who addressed the opening ceremony.
Kellman, now Minister of Housing and Lands, said he looked forward to the day when Barbados could roll out its indigenous Black Belly Sheep and Sea Island Cotton to result in a good mix in Bridgetown.
He said too he was aware other investors were interested in properties in the City owned by Government. He said he was happy to see a lot of foreign investors coming here, which demonstrated Barbados was still a place to do business.
Kellman assured that Government would provide the enabling environment for investment.
“The time is right for investment; do not wait until the recession is over,” noted the minister.
He said Barbados did not have a cash flow problem, and urged all business leaders to work with the Government in moving Barbados forward, cautioning that “we cannot afford to let Barbados go under, because if Barbados went under, we all go under”.
President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lalu Vaswani, said the chamber welcomed foreign investment, suggesting that the opening of the Converse store, was evidence that the local economy was still stable.
Vaswani said Converse was a new pillar in growing the Bridgetown economy and the push of heritage against the background of Bridgetown and its Historic Garrison. The directors of the store are Ziad Kazan, Corey Garrett and Omar Hadeed. (EJ)††