Grand Bahama is set to get yet another economic boost with the opening of the largest fabric distributor in the country, Home Fabrics.
With an estimated $2 million initial investment, the company will hire 10 people and more as the business grows.
Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Kwasi Thompson, during a press conference to announce the business expansion on Thursday, June 14, congratulated the Benjamin and Laura Pinder of Home Fabrics on the venture.
“I’m told that Home Fabrics is the largest fabric distributor in The Bahamas and they have a number of locations,” said Thompson.
“We are happy that Home Fabrics has chosen a location of their newest store will be right here in Grand Bahama. That really speaks volumes for Grand Bahama. It also speaks about investor confidence in Grand Bahama. One of the things that we have noticed and have continued to inform the public about is that we’ve seen an uptick in investor confidence and investor interest.”
Thompson added that there has been an increase in Bahamian domestic investment and described the investment by Home Fabrics as “significant”.
With the fabric industry being an important one, he said, he is sure Home Fabrics will be comfortable in Grand Bahama, at an unfinished warehouse on Milton Street, that has already been secured.
Queen’s Highway is one of the island’s business centres, said Thompson, and it is hoped that there will be further improvements and investments as it is revitalized.
“The government has also embarked upon a budget process and are encouraging Bahamians to take advantage of one of the aspects of the budget, which is refurbishment and for dilapidated business. You are able to apply to the Ministry of Finance for a duty-free exemption on materials. This has been extended in this year’s budget, so we are encouraging those businesses that may be on Queen’s Highway, and those businesses that may be in other locations that may need refurbishment or are in a dilapidated state, to take advantage of this duty-free exemption.”
Thompson also used the opportunity to mention the duty-free exemptions to be introduced on clothing, shoes, and fabrics.
“Bahamians are able to take advantage of those local stores that are going to be selling clothes, and they should be able to sell clothes at duty-free rates. And those businesses, like Home Fabrics, that sell fabrics should be able to do so at a duty-free rate. The purpose of this project, or behind this incentive, is to assist local businesses in this area,” he said.
Benjamin Pinder, accounting manager at Home Fabrics, gave some history of the company in that they have been in existence since 1976 in Nassau. The family business has been expanding: 2009, opened a store in Abaco; 2011, opened a branch in Carmichael in Nassau; and now they feel it is the time expand in Grand Bahama.
Praising the Office of the Prime Minister, Pinder said Thompson has assisted greatly in getting their business to the point it is now for the intended opening in October, and “we are very excited to be a part of the revitalization in Grand Bahama.”
“We not only expect to have an impact on the economy by employing people but a trickle-down effect as well to garment manufacturers, interior decorators, designers and industries of that nature,” Pinder added.
His wife, Laura, is the buyer for the company and said they hope to be open on October 1, to be ready for their busy seasons, Halloween and Christmas.
She added that many people do not realize that a big part of their business is seasonal and so everytime everyone goes into the store, it’s different. Grand Bahamians have asked for years for them to open a branch on the island, and now “seems like the right time to pull the trigger”.
This article was written by ROBYN ADDERLEY, Bahamas Information Services.