Clarence Thomas Ltd (CTL) has added another laurel to its golden history of service to the BVI. The company, which has been operating for 50 years, on Monday 14 December opened a large state of the art building at Fish Bay.
The new facility – a large upgrade to the Pasea Store – is a 60,000 square-foot facility with ample space for the various household offerings of the company. During the soft opening, Managing Director Michael Thomas announced that the expansion is a two year journey. “It has been a long two year journey, but now it is finally over. This is a soft opening for us, we are just trying to get in the building before the holidays and we have a lot of new things planned for the new year. The official opening will be sometime in April.”
The Managing Director said that the company will be very competitive in its offering and acknowledged that pricing is the usual concern for persons where local shopping is concerned: “In terms of pricing, check CTL prices against anybody from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas and you recognize that we are actually extremely competitive at this. We have changed our pricing strategy about a year-and-a-half ago which allowed us to get government to come up with that two-tier tax system that I have been preaching for nearly 20 years to actually lower prices by between 15 to 20 percent and that will continue.”
“As we continue to generate volume you will see a lot of specials…I think we have a pulse on the pricing (and) by the time we figure duty and freight we usually come right in line with what you see in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico,” he said.
The Managing Director indicated that the expansion also called for a growth in the company’s staff as the previous 41 staff complement has been increased to 51: “We already hired like 10 persons and we probably gonna be hiring at least 10 more.”
“To run an operation of this size I am looking for volume, and if it does what I think it will, we will definitely have to hire a lot more persons, but I am being very selective in terms of who I am hiring because, like I have told people from the beginning, I am not trying to put bodies in a building, I really want persons that want to do this, want to serve the public (and) are very creative,” he explained.
Mr. Thomas mentioned that the journey to opening caused him sleepless nights: “At 3:00 o’clock many mornings, my wife would tell you, I have gotten up and sat in the chair in the bedroom, turn the TV on, sat there and she would wake up and ask what are you doing and I would say I cannot sleep, my mind is going. Sometimes you wonder whether or not it was the right thing to do, but not really having doubt, but the process to get here.”
“There were so many different things that took place, when you are dealing with banks, you are dealing with forces you cannot control. I am used to being in control; it scares you. A good friend of mine told me, Michael if your dreams don’t scare you, it’s just not big enough. But my dreams have scared me enough,” he added.