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Bermuda Trader to hold ‘do-or-die sale’

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Product search: Chris Bryan, pictured on a buying trip in Bali (Photograph supplied)
Intrepid: Chris Bryan, pictured on a buying trip in Bali (Photograph supplied)
Seeking the unique: Chris Bryan of Bermuda Trader ((Photograph supplied)

Bermuda Trader is to hold what its owner describes as a “do-or-die sale” after the pandemic destroyed its 2020 revenue.

Chris Bryan, owner of the wholesaler, which imports handmade goods from Asia, said sales were down nearly 90 per cent this year.

Bermuda Trader supplies 15 retailers on the island with goods largely targeted at tourist buyers. He had stocked up for the year before Covid-19 wrecked the tourist season.

The sale will start tomorrow and run through to December 24. Discounts of between 25 per cent and 50 per cent will apply. The Bermuda Trader warehouse is at 12 Cemetery Road, Pembroke and its opening hours are 12pm until 6pm.

Mr Bryan said the warehouse contains more than 2,000 products, most of which were made by craftspeople in Indonesia and Thailand. They include carvings, hardwood mirrors, select pieces of furniture, stone items, shawls, jackets, scarves, statuettes and wooden games.

Mr Bryan, the sole proprietor of Bermuda Trader, said: “This is a do-or-die sale for me. Sales are down 86 per cent from last year. Nobody has been buying.

“The sale will determine whether I survive through to the return of the cruise ships and the time that the flights get back to something close to usual.”

The company has two retail outlets, Frangipani Hamilton and Frangipani St George’s, but the sale applies only to the warehouse. Bermuda Trader also supplies Bermuda Triangle in Dockyard.

Mr Bryan said he was well aware that other businesses were suffering too. “This is a tough year for businesses and especially ones that are focused on the tourist market so we want to reach out and ask locals to support us this Christmas.”

Mr Bryan spends winters in Asia, sourcing products. “Over the last 30 years we have imported more than a million items into Bermuda from Indonesia and Thailand, many of which decorate local houses. The majority of our products are made especially for us by art craftsmen and are quite unique.”

He added: “My motorbike riding skills, honed growing up on the Rock, have served me well to get around these places searching out interesting producers.

“In Bali it’s quite common for the different villages to specialise in various skills so I move around quite a bit searching for treasures. It doesn't help that its monsoon season while I am there, which is like non-stop tank rain.”

Bartering is part of the process. “Over the years, I have learned to speak Indonesian which serves me well when they try to play around with the price behind my back,” Mr Bryan said.

“I also have a full-time Balinese staff who organises all the logistics of quality checking, tagging and shipping everything to Bermuda. She has worked for us for close to 20 years and is the main breadwinner for her family.”

Bermuda Trader was set up in 1989 by its previous owner, Claire Smith.

For more information contact Mr Bryan on 732-2113, or at bermudatrader@logic.bm. Shoppers are reminded that mask-wearing and all other Covid-19 protocol will be in effect

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Published December 09, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 09, 2020 at 9:52 am)

Bermuda Trader to hold ‘do-or-die sale’

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