We begin this week with more department store coverage, in the form of Joseph's Central Plaza location, where TSO reporter Curt Cawley popped in to see how things were going, as the retail chain gets ready for Thursday, September 19. Sherene Sang, store manager, an adept juggler it turns out, gives us a preview of their plans as she supervises her crew and mans this multi-deck ship, all with not a hair out of place...
What's the genesis of the name 'Joseph's'?
When our founder Joseph Nasrallah, a Lebanese-native, immigrated to Jamaica, he legally changed his name to Joseph Joseph so he could register the business name as 'Joseph's'. He figured his newly adopted surname would be much easier to pronounce and recall than Nasrallah.
How long has the company been in the retail industry?
Joseph's has been in operation for over 80 years.
What keeps the chain interested in the department store business?
Here at Joseph's we have a strong passion for identifying and satisfying the needs of our customers; this is what continues to drive us 80-something years later.
When did the Joseph's Central Plaza branch open?
Joseph's Central Plaza opened its doors in September 1991 selling merchandise for ladies, men and children on the first floor. Our second floor housed our Fabric department where we sold upholstery and clothing pieces by the yard/pound. In 2006, we downsized our Fabric department, exclusively to upholstery fabric and it was that same year we opened our Uniform (School) and Household departments. A few years later, we expanded our first floor into the neighbouring Shop 12 to accomodate a renovated Children's department.
As a representative of Joseph's, what do you enjoy most about being in retail?
It has given me the opportunity to meet new people, to interact with a wide cross-section of different customers; it has introduced me to new fashions and I get to style mannequins — which is very interesting; and you get to be a part of exciting ventures, such as TSO, that make it all worth it. I think it's a very good business to be in; every day there is something new.
How would you describe the Joseph's Central Plaza customer?
We have a mix here at this location. There are the persons who have more modest budgets but want fashionable items; then there are those who are from higher income brackets but still shop with us out of a sense of tradition and brand loyalty. We also encourage our customers to mix and match here, so many of them will stop in to complete outfits that they may have at home.
What can customers expect from Joseph's Central Plaza on Thursday, September 19 when the Jamaica Observer Takes Style Out?
We'll be having our TSO sale right throughout the day - from opening to closing. 25 per cent off and up, storewide; every item will be discounted. There are plans for prize giveaways for shoppers, music provided by a disc jockey and amusement park refreshments/staples for the kids, such as snow cones and popcorn.
Share a few retail tips for Thursday, September 19.
Since our TSO activities and sale will be all day long, I'd suggest customers come by early, if they can, and take advantage of the calm-before-storm store environment, before things get crazy in the evening, post-work, with the long lines and crowds.
What do you expect to be the major trends or must-haves for the Jamaica Observer Takes Style Out?
Because it's still so close to the preceding back-to-school season, a lot of parents will return to complete that shopping list.
They will top up on articles such as school uniforms and corresponding accessories. Outside of that niche bracket, gold-plated jewellery, linen clothing for women, and jewelled coloured dress shirts and darker neutral coloured dress pants for the men - foundation items. The Christmas season is fast-approaching so product categories such as bedding and bathroom linens and accents will also be hot commodities.
Photographer: Michael Gordon