T&T-based Guyanese sets up $1b hardware store

A Trinidad-based Guy-anese has established a $1b hardware store at Providence on the East Bank.

R. MAYE Hardware Guyana Inc. sits on approximately 100,000 square feet of land at Lot 477 Plantation Providence and yesterday, Rajendra Maye, the store’s proprietor, told Stabroek News during a visit to the site of the store that he chose the location because it is ideal to conduct the kind of operation that he will be running.

Most of the infrastructural and other levers required to operate the business are already in place, but Maye said that some additional work is needed, and explained that because of this, he estimates that the store will not commence its operations until the end of the current year, or sometime early in 2014.

Rajendra Maye at the entrance of the store yesterday afternoon
Rajendra Maye at the entrance of the store yesterday afternoon

It should be noted that much of the work force that will propel the business will be sourced locally. Maye said that during the construction process, which started late May, “persons came in and were interviewed and so the employment process started from there.” To date, he said, about 80 persons have been finalized to work at the hardware store once it begins to operate. This is not necessarily the final number though, as the number of employees can grow depending on how well the market responds.

Maye is a Trinidad-based Guyanese, having migrated to the twin-island state in 1993. Three years later, he shared; he opened his first business establishment on the twin-island State – a hardware store. Since this time, he said that his business operation has blossomed and he now has four branches of his hardware store in Trinidad, and, with his partners, several other stores in countries across the Caribbean including Barbados, St Lucia, Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda.

Maye’s ambition to open a branch of the store in Guyana was kindled late last year after he met with President Donald Ramotar and Housing Minister Irfaan Ali. He said that both government officials noted his success, and encouraged him to make an investment in Guyana. Almost a full year later, the store is almost complete, but Maye’s decision to make the investment was not made based  solely on the imploration by Ramotar and Ali.

He said that he conducted an independent survey to assess the need for the goods his store would supply.

The survey, he said, found that there is a consistently high demand for hardware goods in Guyana. He speculated that this may be the case due to the boom in Guyana’s construction sector.

The hardware store will also be supplying an array of furnitute
The hardware store will also be supplying an array of furnitute

Guyana already has several well-established hardware stores but Maye is not intimidated by this reality. R. MAYE Hardware Guyana Inc, he explained, will be offering goods which will be on par or better than the competition in terms of quality at a cheaper price, and expressed confidence that once customers experience the quality of the goods he will be offering the rest will take care of itself.

Noting the perception that cheaper goods usually equate to lower qualities, he said that this is a fallacy where his establishment is concerned. Because of the scale of his Trinidadian operations, he said, it is considered to be one of the largest in the country.

Maye said that steels roofs such as this one on display on the store are 80% more affordable than wood alternatives, but at the same time are stronger, lighter, impervious to damage by pests, and will generally last longer
Maye said that steels roofs such as this one on display on the store are 80% more affordable than wood alternatives, but at the same time are stronger, lighter, impervious to damage by pests, and will generally last longer

“I have a very powerful buying power. I have four branches in Trinidad and my stores are considered one of the largest hardware dealers in Trinidad. This gives me a very powerful buying power, and so I demand my price from my suppliers,” he told Stabroek News yesterday. Although he sources much of the goods he offers from international suppliers, Maye said that he also manufactures 50% of the stock.

The hardware store is just the first phase of the investment Maye has budgeted for. He told this newspaper that he has set aside another $1 billion, which would bring his total investment in Guyana to $2 billion, and not to mention create many more jobs. The further investment though depends on how well the first phase of the operation – the hardware store – turns out.

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