Giftland supermarket aiming to make life easier for working class

Fharis Mohamed near the meat area

Life would be made easier for working people when the Giftland Mall opens its FoodMaxx supermarket that offers “next generation shopping” at competitive prices, the company says.

The supermarket, which would be an evolution, according to company president, Roy Beepat, would make their shopping and cooking easier by “giving options that nobody in the Caribbean does.”

He explained that it would offer food items that are fully cooked and ready for the table as well as meat and vegetables that are washed, peeled and chopped and are ready to go straight to the pot.

Beepat said that ‘supermarkets in the Caribbean have concepts from about 50 years ago,” of just purchasing products and putting them on the shelves to sell.

“They don’t cater to the generation where a lot of people are working late hours – in some cases where both members of the family work.”

FoodMaxx would be located on the ground floor of the mall at Plantation Pattensen, Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara on a total space of 54,000 sq ft and is expected to be opened at the end of July.

It would be equipped with a bakery, 11 cash registers as well as administrative offices for finance and treasury and for the master chef and the butcher along with a mini conference room and sanitizing machines.

There would also be four cooling rooms for ice, ice cream and yogurt, two machines that would actually produce a 20-ft container of ice per day. Customers would also benefit from a choice of ice flavoured with cranberry, apple or other juices.

The facility would also be preparing sausages, bacon and, steak at the requisite temperatures, as well as lean steak in different cuts, for the shelves.

It would be manned by about 200 staff who would be recruited during this month and as it [the supermarket] gets going” that figure would be increased to over 300. The staff would work under a three-shift system and “at each shift there would be cooking.”

Beepat said FoodMaxx is “very much a Guyanese company” and would offer traditional Guyanese meals like cook-up rice, salt fish and bake and metemgee.

There would also be meals to suit other members of the family including lasagna, spaghetti, pizzas and pies while there would be a ‘nice selection of pastries” and donuts that would be prepared on the spot.

He is also offering the families a choice of “buying Sunday to Sunday meals and stock them in the freezer’ and reheat when needed.

According to him, this evolution “would actually work out cheaper than cooking or paying a cook – so this makes a lot of sense rather than having a cook that can’t cook. Or buying greens and vegetables and throwing away what you don’t use.”

He would be bringing in three extra chefs for this purpose, including a master chef as well as a master baker.

The supermarket would also take the health conscious shoppers into consideration and would supply salads, gluten free and organic foods.

Working with farmers

In terms of offering competitive prices, he said they are actually working directly with the farmers for dairy and fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We can guarantee you that we would be cheaper than the market and have a much different variety but carrying the same Giftland style. So we’re gonna kill you with variety, we’re gonna kill you with quality.”

The farmers that are in the line up to supply the supermarket are tasked with ensuring that their produce is not over-fertilized so that they can last longer.

Further, the farmers would meet the needs of the supermarket by producing vegetables that would normally be imported like various types of lettuces, baby spinach and kale, which will certainly “boost the agricultural sector.”

FoodMaxx would also market the onions and potatoes that are currently being grown locally through the National Agricultural Research & Extension Institute.

“This would be the greatest thing that would ever happen to local farmers and the local agricultural industry,” Beepat beamed. “When Giftland gets itself into something, it does it properly. We are looking to be a major source in the local agricultural sector.”

He said too that they want to “work with the abattoir to see if they can get meats to the international grades in order to start exporting the foods.”

They would also be stocking “some of the greatest fish in this world, ”including queriman, gilbaka, trout, salmon, snapper, hassar, that would not normally be sold at supermarkets” as well as crabs and prawns.

“It would be different shopping where people could get nice fresh things at very reasonable prices. With regards to meat, it would be properly packaged and aged.”

He added: “So you won’t be buying meat here that you would have to pressure to eat. Our meats would be the same quality that you would get from supermarkets abroad where you can just stir fry or prepare them very lightly…”

Beepat emphasized that it would be a “next generation supermarket for Guyana… There is probably a mix between a Publix and a fresh market from abroad.”

According to him: “We are trying to ensure that customers get the best quality at the best prices. That would definitely make us more competitive than any supermarket in Georgetown. Not only that, but we would offer wholesale prices when they buy more than three items.”

For instance, he said, they can pick up a case of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages for the same prices that the companies offer.

And for those planning a party but lack the time to prepare, they can just “pick up from the food, the drinks, the plates and they are all good to go.”

He said too, “So just the way we changed the way Guyanese shopped, we are going to change the way you eat. And we’re going to give you healthy options, we’re not going to give you very bad foods because we care, Giftland cares.”

Meanwhile, an employee, Fharis Mohamed who is responsible for sale, advertising and branding, gave this newspaper a tour of the facility.

He said the gondola shelves with be stocked with all the fast going items that would be on “deals and bargains.”

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