Grace Sell Off!
93-y-o company is GLEANER HONOUREE OF THE YEAR
Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
"Grace sell off!" declared Don Wehby, chief executive officer of
GraceKennedy Group Limited, as he proudly displayed the distinguished
trophy his company earned for its outstanding business accomplishments
and contribution to national development in Jamaica last year.
Yesterday, GraceKennedy was named the 2014 Honouree of the Year at the annual staging of The Gleaner's Honour Awards gala luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St Andrew.
"This is such a surreal moment for us at GraceKennedy. On behalf of the 2,000 hard-working men and women at Grace, we are humbled and proud of this recognition and to be honoured by such a prestigious company as The Gleaner for the work we are doing."
He added: "After 93 years of service to Jamaica, Grace continues to be the leading brand for consumers, not just here in Jamaica but across the world. We are absolutely proud to take the Jamaican brand to the rest of the world. Our aim is that Grace will be the world's best."
BREAKING NEW GROUND
True to its vision of being a global consumer group, which includes selling 15 per cent of its wide variety of Jamaica-made products in three different continents, today the GraceKennedy brand is doing very well in the Caribbean, United States, United Kingdom, West Africa and parts of Europe.
Last year, the company broke into the Russian market, with its products now available in 85 stores. It also branched off into Germany, France and Holland.
Wehby said when he got recent reports out of Ghana that "Grace products sell off", it brought laughter and joy to his heart.
"We export our Tropical Rhythms products to Ghana, and when the three or four containers land, they go just like that. Them just sell off," he jubilantly declared.
GraceKennedy is also a dominant force in the financial and remittance industry.
Added to that, over the years, the company has made significant philanthropic contributions to countless lives in every nook and cranny of Jamaica, thanks to its myriad benevolent foundations.
With five factories across the island, Wehby said practically all its products are manufactured in Jamaica.
"It is a lot of hard work and we have our challenges, but we are very focused and determined in our goal, and we really believe that we can make a difference not only to Jamaica but the rest of the world," the CEO added, noting that it always warms the heart to know that after almost a century, Grace is still the number-one brand of choice for consumers.
"Grace has never compromised on quality. We set ourselves a very high standard and compare ourselves to the best in the world, so our motto will always remain 'For quality and taste, buy Grace'," Wehby shared.
PROUD TO SALUTE GRACE
Christopher Barnes, managing director of The Gleaner, said the multimedia company was proud to recognise and honour GraceKennedy for its outstanding work.
"Here is a company that has been around for a long time and they have grown from strength to strength. They have a vision of being a global company and they are indeed fulfilling that vision, taking brand Jamaica to the four corners of the world," stated Barnes.
"They have expanded into many international markets. And let's not forget the corporate social responsibility that is interwoven in the fabric of GraceKennedy. Grace is really doing a tremendous job in bettering the lives of so many persons in need."
With laughter, Barnes added: "Besides, I am absolutely proud to be a Grace baby, because my father worked for GraceKennedy. I grew up on Grace Vienna Sausages and Ketchup. Not to mention the macaroni and rice and peas, lick your lips, pass the ketchup, please. That was my favourite Sunday dinner."
This year, The Gleaner honoured 13 individuals and organisations for their outstanding work in 2014.
"It just warms the heart, absolutely priceless, when you see how proud the honourees are of being recognised and honoured for their outstanding service to Jamaica. And getting to know each of them and why they do what they do makes doing this each year that much more refreshing and fulfilling," Barnes noted.
"I must say, each year The Gleaner Honour Awards gets better and better, thanks to the great team we have.
Launched in 1979, each year, The Gleaner's Honour Awards recognises the initiative, accomplishment and courage of individuals or organisations that have contributed significantly to improving Jamaica's quality of life.
Alia Atkinson - Sports
Earl Jarrett - Voluntary Service
Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters - special award for Sports
Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning Education - Reel Rock GSW Animation
Science and Technology - China Harbour Engineering Company
Special award for Business
Grasshopper Productions' 'Destiny' - Entertainment
The Reverend Glen Archer - Special award for Education
Jamaica Social Investment Fund- Public Service
The Institute of Jamaica - Arts and Culture
The Jamaica Cancer Society - Health and Wellness
Marcia Griffiths - Lifetime Achievement Award for Entertainment