The island’s main private sector organisation this morning embarked on what it described as the first step towards the introduction of 24-hour shopping in the City of Bridgetown.
Vice-President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Eddie Abed, told a news conference inside the Colanade Mall on Broad Street, that the launch today of Thursday Nights Live in the City, was a template for transforming the business culture of Bridgetown.
“This is 2013, and what drives consumers today is convenience,” Abed said “And as responsible retailers [and] distributors… we need to attract our customers. We need to stay relevant to our customers,” said Abed.
“And truthfully, at this stage I would like to say everything is on the table, and as we grow, we need to understand that we must look at everything and come up with a decision that is best for everyone’s interest. Nothing as far as the retailers are concerned has been decided or set in stone as yet.
“So what’s important is that this is a step in the right direction. As we go forward we will review it, we will add to it, [or] we may subtract from it. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do know this is a step in the right direction.”
Abed, who owns Abed stores in Swan Street, the City and Sheraton Mall, Christ Church, identified the effort toward 24-hour business as a learning curve, of which Thursday Night Live would be the beginning.
“Culturally, we’ve always worked an eight-hour day. We are moving towards a 24-hour day; not because the retailers, per se wanted it. It’s because we are being driven by the consumers. Our consumers, whether they be locals or tourists, demand of us, that convenience,” declared the prominent businessman who employs 85 workers.
“And we are taking the baby steps to move towards that. This is a step in that direction, and I fully expect that this would open additional avenues. I can’t say that this is going to be the final template. It may change, but we are definitely moving towards that.
Thursday Nights Live, which starts this week and continues every week until September 12, will be reviewed after the first two weeks. Abed said upwards of 80 per cent of the 2,000 businesses in the City will remain open until 9 p.m.
He said too there would be lots of entertainment stretching from Lower Broad Street beside Republic Bank to Lord Nelson’s statue on Upper Broad Street. Project Coordinator, Stacia Browne, pointed out that the chamber’s resident street DJ would provide entertainment as well as the Barbados Defence Force’s Zouave Band.
Browne added that partners that had so far agreed to open late, includes Cave Shepherd, Diamonds International, City Mall, Bridge Street Mall, the Colanade Mall, Trident House, all Swan Street stores and those on Prince William Henry Street.
She explained that all of the businesses in the City and surrounding areas had been invited to open late, but while all were keen, some found it difficult to be flexible.
Cave Shepherd and Duty Free Caribbean were represented at the news conference by Mark Anthony, while Henrietta Boyce of Henrietta’s Closet represented her clothing store as well as the small business sector. (EJ)