Massy Stores CEO Roxanne de Freitas says a lot of money and work has been invested into the supermarket chain's latest branch on the Eastern Main Road in San Juan, which was opened on Wednesday.
Speaking at the opening, de Freitas said she was optimistic the branch would develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the community it aims to serve and looks forward to their interactions with the public.
This Massy Stores branch replaces the Diskomart supermarket at the same location.
Diskomart is line of groceries under the Massy Stores brand which carries a more limited variety of goods at a lower price.
In her opening remarks, de Freitas said the decision to open a Massy Stores grocery came after consultation with shoppers who wanted a wider variety of goods to choose from.
She said shoppers also hoped to make use of Massy Stores' customer loyalty and rewards programme which is not available under the Diskomart line of groceries.
De Freitas noted that the cost of the transition to renovate the building and ensuring all aspects of the grocery were up to code cost roughly $50 million.
"One of our values at Massy Stores is growth and continuous improvement and the launch of Massy Stores San Juan is one way we believe we've been embracing this value.
"We launched Diskomart about two years ago and while we operated within the community, we gained a lot of knowledge from what our consumers needed, what they are looking for and we realised that we needed to bring to this community, a bit more by bringing the Massy Stores brand.
"We upgraded, retrofitted and brought it up to the standard and we are proud of that, of what we can today call Massy Stores. A lot of hard work took place in the last few months to convert this brand into our proud Massy Stores brand."
De Freitas said in addition to grocery items there were also sections which carried gardening supplies and accessories for vehicles.
Speaking with reporters after the official opening, de Freitas said among the different upgrades, special consideration was given to adequate security.
"There are cameras and there is constant monitoring, we build a very close relationship with the protective services and we had their representation here, so that in the event we need something whether it's police, fire or health we can get a response quickly. We can get an ambulance here fast, we can get a police response here quickly.
"We have security guards patrolling, we have two entrances. If we look in the back at night and it's quiet in the back we won't open the back entrance, we'll close it at a certain time maybe at around 4 pm.
"We have to be vigilant, we have had to invest a lot of money on cameras, on monitoring on extra guards...it is the cost of doing business in Trinidad and Tobago now."
She said the branch which operates on two shifts, has around 50 employees and noted some of them were workers from the Ramish and Leela supermarket which was the first grocery at this location.
MP for Barataria/San Juan Saddam Hosein who also attended the event, thanked de Freitas for keeping the Massy brand in his constituency noting that it would not only provide food items for the public but was also a means of employment.
He noted that affordable foodstuff is needed now more than ever and called on retailers and other stakeholders in the supermarket industry to make the price of their goods more affordable.
"All of us in Trinidad and Tobago understand the economic crisis we are in, all of us understand high food prices so this (call) is not just for this establishment, but right throughout Trinidad and Tobago – I urge those responsible for providing food to make it more affordable to the people.
"I think that is very important as we are now recovering from what was the worst of the covid pandemic and I think the affordability of food is very important," Hosein said.