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Retailers off the beaten track see benefits

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Steady business: John Powell, owner of Powell’s Marine Limited (Photograph by Rockel Mundy)

A retail park tucked away at Southside in St David’s is a popular place for East End residents, and business owners are hoping to welcome more locals to shop at the out-of-town location.

A number of the retailers have spoken about what it is like to be part of the small community of businesses on Waller’s Point Road, adjacent to the northern edge of LF Wade International Airport’s airfield.

Home furnishings business Big Savings Zone opened at the location 18 years ago. Ashley Wilson, a sales representative, said general traffic throughout the week is steady, and as it stays open until 7pm it is convenient for people popping by after work. Saturday is also popular with customers.

“People often say they haven’t heard of us, or don’t come to this side of the island often. People who come down this way live down here, and it’s convenient for them,” she said, adding that the benefit of being in the Southside location is that there are no other furniture businesses in the area.

Christopher Smith is a salesperson at Atlas Home Improvements. It is a one-stop shop for kitchen, baths and renovations needs. He believes owning a business in Southside is better financially, and said: “The benefits of having a business up here is the rent is a lot cheaper.”

Atlas Home Improvements opened eight years and attracts customers from across the island. Mr Smith said: “We do anything to do with kitchens, cabinets, counter tops, tile, appliances and more.”

John Powell, is the owner of Powell’s Marine Limited. The company won a Best of Bermuda award from The Bermudian magazine two years ago It specialises in repairing boats, outboards, inboards, and diesel motors. In addition it services boats and paints them.

“We also have retail where we sell parts such as batteries, belts and more. We order special parts as well,” said Mr Powell.

The business opened ten years ago and has a steady customer base, but it is always looking for more. Mr Powell said: “A big advantage for us in the east is the yachts that come in. We have been servicing them, but because we do not have enough mechanics we turn some away.”

He is looking to hire more staff, and is seeking people with at least five years’ experience in marine mechanics.

One of the newer businesses in the area is Quality Tires and Services. It opened a year ago. Owner Andrew Roberts said business has been going well.

“We sell tyres and batteries, which is cost-effective. We also change tyres for customers and the location is perfect because we are right across the street from TCD [the Southside satellite inspection centre]. If someone’s car hasn’t passed because the tyres need to be changed, then we can change them here,” Mr Roberts said.

“I am trying to cater to the East End as much as possible so customers do not have to go into town.”

Newer business: Andrew Roberts, owner of Quality Tires and Services (Photograph by Rockel Mundy)
Long-established: Big Savings Zone has been at its Southside location for 18 years (Photograph by Rockel Mundy)
Out of town: Atlas home Improvements is among the retail businesses at Southside (Photograph by Rockel Mundy)