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Furniture and appliance store Unicomer (Courts) opened its spanking new distribution centre at Bois d’Orange on Thursday afternoon.
The new facility is more than 35,000 square-feet in size and costs US$8,000,000 to construct, company officials said.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President of the Unicomer Group, Guillermo Siman, said when Courts first opened its doors in Saint Lucia 33 years ago it was well received and grew quickly expanding to more than one location on the island, with one distribution centre at Marisule being used to supply and distribute goods all over the island.
In 2006, the Unicomer Group acquired Courts Caribbean; they have added more stores and employed more people to work at the stores. “We believe that the best way to achieve our goals is with strong focus on innovation and excellence in service,” Siman said.
Siman noted that the company believes a country’s greatest asset is its people, therefore he said having their own distribution centre in Saint Lucia became the company’s first priority.
According to him, this was necessary to ensure high quality storage, distribution of goods to the stores and prompt delivery to customers.
The facility has eight loading bases for faster loading – something done to improve customer service, Siman said.
The Courts Marisule building will be turned into a mega store, of over 20,000 square-feet in size, as well as a regional OECS office for COURTS and the Servitech Service Centre.
This is meant to result in an additional $10 million being generated into the economy in a few years, through construction and employment.
Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs, Emma Hippolyte, in her address to the ceremony, expressed her congratulations to the Unicomer Group on the investment initiative.
She said the venture should especially be commended as it comes at a time of economic hardship, when investors are hesitant to invest and expand their businesses.
“Government expects a commitment from you to continue to provide top quality products to the Saint Lucian market at the most affordable rate. As minister responsible for business development I have had to engage you as a strategic partner on a quest to develop and strengthen the local furniture sector. I am pleased to note that we have received a commitment from you to work with my ministry, and with the sector to increase local furniture pieces from our suppliers as well as improve the visibility and marketing of local furniture and to work on a local furniture line which will benefit all stakeholders,” Hippolyte said.
OECS Finance Director of Unicomer Ian considered the move as one which will make the company’s operations more efficient.
Meantime, Prime Minister Kenny Anthony also thanked Courts for their generosity in responding to many of the victims who lost their furniture during last year’s Christmas Eve trough.
“Of over generations your company has made it possible for large numbers of Saint Lucian families, particularly working class families to purchase furniture and electronics,” Anthony stated.
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