Wed | Aug 23, 2017

‘Hurry Hurry’ selling assets

Published:Wednesday | February 15, 2017 | 2:00 AMNeville Graham
Businessman Owen Sinclair.

Westmoreland businessman Owen 'Hurry Hurry' Sinclair is liquidating some of his land assets and buildings, citing his advancing years.

The businessman, who made a name for himself as a retailer of low-cost, high volume haberdashery items, says that after being in business for nearly 50 years, the job of managing his big-ticket assets has got too big for him.

"I can't manage - I am 84; I need to shed some of the responsibilities and take it easy," Sinclair told Gleaner Business.

Sinclair has put up four properties for sale and is looking for either a buyer or lessor for his 18-hole golf course and club facilities. His chain of bargain stores, which spans eight parishes, is not included in the disposals.

"At one time, I had 10 or 16 members of family around me, now I only have about five," he said, regarding the need to scale back.

Sinclair rose to prominence catering to price-conscious shoppers. His first store opened at 27 Beckford Street in Savanna-la-Mar, the capital of Westmoreland. Although the chain bears the name Sinclair's Bargain Centre, it is more popularly known as 'Hurry Hurry'. The phrase was Sinclair's signature call, 'hurry, hurry' as a signal to bargain hunters that he could supply their needs.

SELLING OUT

Over time, Sinclair's Bargain Centre expanded to 16 stores. Sinclair expressed his displeasure when asked whether the asset sales meant he would eventually put his flagship business up for sale.

"I have thirteen stores," he declared. "Does that look like I'm selling out?"

The properties on the market are: land and building in Savanna-la-Mar, spanning 18,000 square feet and 30,000 square feet, respectively; another building in Savanna-la-Mar suitable for retail; a three-bedroom residence in Brown's Town, St Ann; 6 one-acre lots at Nonpariel in Westmoreland; and 2.5 acres of land also in Nonpariel. The golf course, which is for sale or lease, sits on 143 acres at Nonpariel, on the outskirts of Negril.

"The golf course has potential, but management is necessary and I can't manage the everyday thing," Sinclair said.

He says he is encouraged by the responses so far from prospective buyers for the properties advertised, but no deals yet.

"There have been a lot of enquiries and offers, but there is no money yet," Sinclair said.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com