JAMAICAN-UK millionaire Levi Roots will open a branded store in Devon House, Kingston, as part of the local expansion of his European food empire.
Roots will likely inspect the site next month and open the store prior to Christmas, according to Janet Taylor, executive director of Devon House Development Company Limited, in a Jamaica Observer interview on Monday.
Roots' branded products mainly include juices and sauces, which Devon House indicates will complement the existing tenants.
"The board ensures great diversity in the products sold by our tenants and Levi Roots will add value to that," she told the Business Observer. "To me all our tenants add value, [but] his brand is known worldwide."
Devon House, a haven for locals and tourists alike, currently houses about a dozen shops that sell local produce within the main courtyard, where Roots secured Shop 5.
"Levi Roots came in, looked around and liked what he saw and decided to rent one of the shops," Taylor recalled.
In 2011, Roots signed with local distributor Outrigger and partnered with the Progressive Group's supermarket chains to sell his sauces and drinks in Jamaica.
Roots, at that time, whilst announcing the distribution deal at a press conference at Devon House told this reporter that his Reggae Reggae brands were valued at £30 million. Up to print, Roots did not return tweets sent for details on the rental deal and whether others would follow. Taylor additionally declined to give the name or contact for his local lawyer.
In January 2007, Levi Roots, then a struggling musician, successfully won a reality series on the BBC show Dragons' Den, where he memorable sang about the virtues of his Reggae Reggae Sauce. Roots, in exchange for a 40 per cent stake in his business, secured the support of millionaire 'Dragons', Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh for £50,000. Peter Jones helped to get the sauce listed by Sainsbury's supermarket.
The brand grew in 2011 when Roots signed a licensing arrangement with Nichols in the UK to manufacture the Reggae Reggae line of beverages.
Roots developed his sauces with inspiration from Jamaica culture. He forms part of the Diaspora profiting from his Caribbean heritage. Jamaica exported US$14.5 million ($1.5b) in sauces during 2012 or 16 per cent higher year on year -- according to the latest Economic and Social Survey Jamaica. That amount actually beat export earnings in coffee, ackee, non-alcoholic drinks and baked products.