A mere month since its opening, MegaMart in Mandeville is a "new and refreshing shopping experience", Bethann Cobrey, a teacher from Bishop Gibson High School, who was cheerfully choosing "very reasonably priced" muffins, told Thursday Food last week. Her friend Sherien Wilson, who had already been "many times" to this location, agreed. However, "I was expecting better
Indeed, walking into the new MegaMart is a breath of fresh air. Everything is beautifully set out, and all the aisles are wide and aligned in such a way that it makes it easy to find what you are looking for. Sure, there are items that may be beyond some people's budgets, like the frozen shellfish, fresh leeks and gluten-free flour, but all the baked items are essentially cheap, and the towels and linens are competitively priced, even compared to foreign counterparts like Target.
Then there's the Jammin' Bistro Food Court, where all cooked food is under $450, soups under $250, side salads less than $300, large salads $490 and under, and sandwiches for $210. "We choose to use local farmers in order to keep the prices down," boasts supervisor Jodi-Ann Peck. "And thanks to our chef Miss Rosie, everything is made fresh daily. Miss Rosie is loved by all, and she has magical fingers in the kitchen," Jodi-Ann continues.
BFFs Lavern Forbes, a hairdresser from Knockpatrick, and Rochelle McKenzie, who sells clothing and lives in Mandeville, were certainly pleased with their lunch — from the standpoint of both cuisine and cost. The pair insisted that it was well worth a stop at the shop even if one was only there to dine in the bistro, followed by buying baked cakes, cookies and muffins. "The service is excellent, and the staff is friendly," Forbes, who had now been there four times in three weeks, informed Thursday Food. Her friend had visited five times, and though she wasn't there to get anything else, she was curiously perusing the storage boxes in case something caught her eye.
The Receivable of Goods Manager, Dwayne Gray, accompanied Thursday Food around the supermarket, ensuring that we also met Reggae Jammin Rotisserie Chef Vinroy Williams, cake decorators Kameka Rowe and Odane Russell, produce pricer and wrapper Tania Salmon, and Team Leader of General Merchandise Simone Baker. Unanimously, they were all loving their jobs and said that their employers treated them very well.
Of course, we at Thursday Food are a little concerned that the inevitable recession will only continue to get worse this year. We wonder how a place like MegaMart will be able to keep customers contented in this financial climate. "As best as we can," Dwayne Gray reassured us.
The truth is, it is too early to tell how well Manchester's MegaMart will do, but right now "locals are shopping here, and people from May Pen and as far as Black River are also coming" Gray told us. "It really is in a very convenient place, as it is not in the midst of traffic, and it is very spacious. Yes, the recession will cut spending power, but we do have a considerable amount of goods on the shelves selling at discounted prices." Tania Salmon noted: "People in Jamaica will spend at certain times of year, and we are getting many repeat customers already." That fact was apparent, as five female students from Decarteret College informed us that they and their peers frequented the bakery section, as six cupcakes under $200 was quite the bargain.