Business

General Food building new supermarket complex

BY STEVEN JACKSON Business Observer staff reporter jacksons@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2014    

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General Food is constructing a new supermarket complex in Liguanea Plaza aimed at offering total shopping within one mega structure.

It will result in the demolition of the existing General Food Supermarket in the same plaza.

The supermarket complex will offer a "little more than 1.5 times the size of the existing shopping floor", Garry Chuck, General Food general manager, told the Business Observer.

Observer estimates put the new complex at some 25,000 square feet based on previous reports on the existing supermarket's floor space of 14,000 square feet.

The supermarket, owned by Tony and June Wong, caters to the surrounding communities of Mona, Hope Pastures, Long Mountain and others.

But the principals are constructing this complex during a downturn in consumer and business confidence.

"The economic climate is a concern to us, but we believe in Jamaica and we specifically believe in Liguanea. It's been our client base for four years," stated Chuck.

The supermarket, up to four years ago, was occupied by the GraceKennedy-owned Hi-Lo Food Store. Management expects construction to be completed next summer.

"We will not make it for Christmas, but maybe a year from now," he reasoned. "We just started the groundbreaking, so you can no longer enter from Munro Road."

The construction will radically change the landscape of Liguanea Plaza which offers two entrances -- one on Munro Road and the other on Old Hope Road. Upon completion, the existing supermarket will become the main parking lot for the new complex.

"We are trying to create a nicer experience for the shopper, and with more convenience," stated Chuck, who added that a deli and other shops will be housed within the complex.

Chuck declined to reveal the size of the investment, based on its private ownership structure. The Wongs also own and operate Liguanea Drug and Garden Centre inside the Liguanea Plaza. However, the plaza is owned by another company of which the Wongs are one set of investors, stated Chuck.

Competitors in the area include Brooklyn and Sovereign supermarkets.

General Food Supermarket operates a second location in Ocean Village Shopping Centre in Ocho Rios.

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