Bad move in Manchester by Hi-Lo
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I have wanted to comment publicly on Hi-Lo's move from Manchester Shopping Centre to Ward Avenue for a long time. Avia Collinder's article, 'Hi-Lo gives up on Mandeville, for now', in the Financial Gleaner of August 28, 2015, provided just that opportunity.
I don't know what got into the heads of the GraceKennedy board to sanction such a move. This was a decision ostensibly taken in Kingston without thought of 'Mandevillian' sensibilities and customer habit.
The only time I remember seeing Hi-Lo Ward Avenue packed was when a hurricane threatened and the Caledonia-Manchester roads were blocked.
Interestingly, the other supermarket on Ward Avenue closed sometime before. Ward Avenue was just not the place. After Hi-Lo moved, Manchester Shopping Centre was a veritable desert, at least at the spot vacated by Hi-Lo. The only time that those parking spaces were filled was at Christmas time. Then Shoppers Fair arrived and those spaces were filled again. As a friend opined: "People in Mandeville are used to having a supermarket at that spot." And when Shoppers Fair Odeon opened its doors, the Progressive Grocers didn't close Shoppers Fair Manchester.
As Jamdown 21 said in his online comments, "The relocation to Ward Avenue was the worst thing they could have done. At Manchester Shopping Centre, they were quite visible, but on Ward Avenue, they were hidden behind some other complex. Poor planning indeed."
I trust that businesses headquartered in Kingston will learn from this debacle.
Department of Humanities
Northern Caribbean University