Kremi maker gets $13-m Sandals deal

BY NEKIESHA REID Business reporter

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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AN additional $13 million per year will be added to Caribbean Cream's coffers as a result of an agreement with Sandals that became effective in September.

The Kremi ice cream maker has signed on to supply the international hotel chain's Jamaican locations with the treat — a deal that earns the six-year-old company over $260,000 each week, said CEO Christopher Clarke.

This is just over three per cent to the company's sales.

"Typically, we sell about 30,000 gallons of ice cream each week, so [the Sandals deal] is not a large amount in the overall scheme of things," Clarke said.

"What is exciting about it is that it gives us exposure to people outside Jamaica and gives us a starting point to approach other hotels," he said.

Clarke was driven to create Caribbean Cream by an urge to provide a "better tasting alternative" along with a lifetime in the ice cream business as the son of Devon House I Scream maker Carol Clarke.

Since its start in 2006, Caribbean Cream has cornered 40 per cent of the bulk standard ice cream market; an achievement Clarke said can be attributed to the quality of his product compared to that of competitors.

Listing on the Junior Stock Exchange by the end of the year will help to widen this percentage, since funds raised in the IPO will be used to expand the factory, doubling the amount of ice cream produced, he said.

Although unable to specify a time frame, Clarke said changing the Montego Bay location to a distribution point and hiring a regional manager to drive sales within the hotel market are also strategies being considered.

Sandals' tendency to shop around for better prices and quality is the reason for the new partnership, said Christopher Malcolm, group purchasing manager for the hotel chain's resort operations.

"So far, it's been pretty good," he said. "There have not been any concerns about quality."

While another ice cream manufacturer continues to supply novelties, Malcolm said Caribbean Cream is the sole supplier of the three-gallon boxes of ice cream to local properties.

"It wasn't the only company being considered, but was chosen based on the quality of the product and the pricing," he said.

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