Manchester merchants get resourceful for TSO

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Cognisant that the annual Jamaica Observer Takes Style Out (TSO) would require them to boost their level of competitiveness, some retailers in Manchester who participated in the event last Thursday got creative to stay ahead of the game.

Though the event was scheduled to officially start at 5:00 pm and continue until 10:00 pm, owner of Keriz Inbox, Kerry-Ann Reid-Simpson, said that the door to her store was open from 7:15 am and there was a rush of clients.

She credited Instagram and WhatsApp as the main social media platforms that she used to get word out that there would be up to 70 per cent discount on the items in stock, which included male and female accessories, and children clothing and shoes.

Reid-Simpson told the Jamaica Observer Central that there was a 50 per cent discount on shoes for everyone and they were sold out from in the morning.

One of her regular customers, Christopher Thompson, was one of the fortunate ones, and in addition to the pair of shoes that he bought, he said that he also purchased two pairs of pants and a shirt.

Keriz Inbox, located at Linclaude Plaza on Wesley Road, opened in June of this year, but Reid-Simpson said that she has managed a business previously that took part in TSO over the years.

“I am very pleased with the sale…” she said.

At Howard's Boutique at Elethe Mall, Manager Sheryl Smart said that her promotion methods included Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and the distribution of flyers around the town of Mandeville.

She said that she had customers that came out to make a purchase for TSO and others that promised to return at another time.

However, she felt the outcome was not really satisfactory, especially because since September 24 she has been on an avid promotion drive as a build-up to TSO on October 4.

“It nuh pull good,” she said, but undaunted, Smart is committed to continue promoting the store that started in February, and said she will be having sales for the rest of the year.

The store has an array of items for women and men, carries plus-size items among the stock, and there is a layaway arrangement from which customers can benefit.

Stores such as Howard's Boutique and Cheago, located as Wesley Plaza, felt that the heavy showers in Mandeville for TSO affected the number of customers that may have come out.

Supervisor at Cheago, Novelle Brown, said that, particularly, in the early years of TSO they were more satisfied when they participated because sales went beyond expectations.

She said in those days when they were ready to close at 10:00 pm, customers still wanted to shop.

The manager and supervisor at pastry establishment Rolly Polly at Bank House Mall extended their opening hours, anticipating a flow of people who would be out later and may want to stop by for a snack, but were also left disappointed.

Employees at Trendy Hatz at Bank House Mall, Sammeshia Simpson and Mishka Gayle analysed that in addition to the rain, the day of the week that TSO is held, and the fact that generally some customers may just not be able to budget for the event at this time could all have been contributing factors to what they felt was not a particularly satisfactory experience.

Assistant manager at Timeless Shoes & More Foot Locker, Denisha Goffe, described the night as “OK”, but did not attribute rain as a reason why they did not receive more customers.

She said that Manchester is a rainy parish, so customers who want to shop would not be deterred by showers.

Operators of Chad's and IQ123, which share a space at Super Plus Centre and is engaged in the sale and repair of electronic items, said that it is their first time participating in TSO and felt the experience was worth their while.

Despite the challenges, largely, it appeared that retailers were willing to take the plunge and partake again next year.

— Alicia Sutherland