GB companies exploit lockdown to restructure


Tribune Business Reporter

Some Grand Bahama businesses say they are using the latest COVID-19 lockdown to complete internal projects and restructuring that would have been difficult had they remained open.

James Rolle, Dolly Madison's general manager, said: "What we're doing is that we are capitalising on this lockdown. We are not doing any curbside service or anything because that is kind of difficult for a hardware store. People say they want something, and you show them one thing and they say, no, they want something else.

"Hardware stores are difficult for curbside, because with curbside you place your order before it's ready and you come to pick up and you pay. With a hardware store, customers really need to see what they want, even if it is something they do not want or they think they would need. When they get into the store they realise it is something they really did not need, but rather something else.

"We can't have customers in the store, so it is too much complications. What we are doing is that we are using this time to transition from one area to another, and we are basically moving into the old Rooms to Go area. We are at about 70 percent relocated," Mr Rolle added.

"Hopefully when this lockdown is over we will not be back in that upper warehouse any more, but we will be opening up in the new area in the old Rooms to Go shopping area."

Mr Rolle said where Dolly Madison is moving from was only a temporary location due to Hurricane Dorian displacing the firm from its main storefront. "We actually had to clear out the entire Rooms to Go section because that is where we had all of the furniture," he said.

"We are using about 50 percent of our staff to get this done. We have about 25 staff members, with 14 of them working in the store and the rest are clerical and administrative staff. Some of our office staff are working remotely. We have already set up our shelves, and have up labelling and pricing. We are labelling and reassigning locations for different products and all of that."

Greg Langstaff, the Grand Bahama Brewing Company's proprietor, said of the latest lockdown: "They closed the liquor stores, and every country has considered them essential services. Our infection rate is skyrocketing and hopefully they can get it under control.

"The massive differences around the world are that countries that opened up too early are failing, like the United States, as they are failing at their job of saving people and controlling the virus. The US has failed because of their policies.

"Germany, on the other hand, fully opened and they are told to take social distancing and they do. Germans obey rules, but that is not The Bahamas. I just found out that Canada has just closed their borders between Quebec and Ontario, much like the same thing they have done here between islands."

Mr Langstaff continued: "They are allowing some manufacturing companies to operate in Grand Bahama. Sands is back in operation, but people need to have jobs in order to buy product. Sands is allowed to operate for manufacturing beer, but you can't have a liquor store open, so what's the point?

"I think it was necessary to shut it down, but if you can get people on-board and maintain control of it it's going to be alright. Otherwise there are going to be deaths and people ill. Ill people just don't get over it as many of them are having long-term health side effects, which will cost the society a lot."

Mr Langstaff also recalled how a mother and daughter failed to quarantine after returning to Grand Bahama from the US, and became responsible for infecting eight other person on the island.

He added: "I don't believe they charged them and I am really disappointed in that. They have the legislation for imposing fines and prison terms, and I think people like that and that mindset are responsible for this lockdown and the state of the economy right now. They should be prosecuted, and if you don't set an example then there is no example set."