Dominicans and visitors to the island now have a one-stop-shop to purchase locally manufactured products.
The new Buy Dominica Supercenter, which is located on 33 King George V Street, was officially opened to the public on Tuesday 1st December 2015.
“It is an honor for me to be part of this simple but very symbolic ceremony today,” President of the Dominica Manufacturers Association (DMA), Jean-Yves Bonaire, said at the opening ceremony, which was held at the Symzees Restaurant in Roseau.
He pointed out that the decision by the DMA to open the facility was a bold one.
“Today what we are doing is to basically to give a home to the manufacturers of this country. Only three months, after the devastating passage of Tropical Storm Erika over our island, it is a very bold decision that we have taken for this sector,” he noted.
He said despite the fact that the sector was “severely impacted” by the storm, the DMA has been resilient and confident “in better tomorrows…”
“We expect to play our role in building back Dominica, to build back better,” Bonaire noted. “We want to be among those who believe that the possible mindset will always be a better choice than the impossible one. The supercenter is simply aiming at giving a better exposure to our locally manufactured products.”
First Vice President of the DMA Severin McKenzie, who also addressed the function, said the opening of the center has a three-prong approach.
“The first one is the one we are initiating today, where we are trying to get Dominican products under one roof where we know what we are producing and we can look at the quality,” he noted. “The second approach would be to look at the export market, how we can put consolidated containers together and find the niche markets wherever they are and then the third one is to let Dominicans know that we in the DMA have an outlet where we know where we get what you want.”
However, the opening of the supercenter has not been without problems.
“The problem that we had is the people who are making these products, we really begged them to come on board,” McKenzie remarked.
He noted that identifying manufacturers was an issue.
“We cannot pick up our phones because we do not know you and you cannot continue producing in your back yard,” he explained. “In fact in getting this outlet operational, this has been our major obstacle-who is making what and where is this person? We see some of these products on the supermarket shelves, but we do not know where it is coming from, who is the contact person for it.”
Meantime Minister for Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business Development, Roselyn Paul, said he is happy that the association responded to the call of the Dominican people in opening the outlet.
“I am indeed elated since the cry of the people of Dominica has been heard, and not only heard, but responded to by the DMA,” she said.
She added that one voice has always been echoed in Dominica for the need of a one-stop shop for the purchase of locally manufactured goods.
“And today this has become a reality,” she stated.
The facility is stocked with locally produced teas, beverages, paper products among others and will be managed by a management team of the executive of the DMA.
It is expected to create employment for four Dominicans at the commencement of operations and additional employment for manufacturers who will no longer be burdened with the lack of access to sales outlets.