Clarendon to get major boost with opening of new Texaco station
Stakeholders have hailed last Thursday’s official opening of the Texaco gas station in Mineral Heights, Clarendon, as a major fillip for the parish’s development.
Clarendon South Eastern Member of Parliament Pearnel Charles Jr said: “It is a reflection of the opportunities that are coming to our citizens and residents here. There are many persons who are now employed, many people who have lived in this beautiful space and can choose to invest in this community, and it is right beside Millennium Mall, which again, is a representation of the growth for Mineral Heights, southeast Clarendon, and Clarendon as a parish.”
The MP said he remains committed to working with the business community to ensure the training of residents in preparation for the employment opportunities the opening brings.
“We have embraced Texaco, and we see them and this gas station as part of our neighbourhood, and we want to encourage other businesses and other entrepreneurs to see Mineral Heights as a booming opportunity with unlocked potential that can create employment opportunities, income generation, and push for us to have a safe space for our young kids to see an opportunity where they can become employed and diverted from things we don’t want them to get involved in,” Charles Jr told The Gleaner.
Similar sentiments were expressed by mayor of May Pen, Winston Maragh. According to Maragh, the geographic location of the station will boost the outlet’s efficiency.
“The position that it’s at, it is poised for easy access to the travelling public. Those coming in from Mandeville or Westmoreland can easily stop here . Whether you’re on Highway 2000 or on the Bustamante Highway, or if you’re leaving May Pen to go to Lionel Town or anywhere in Vere, you can easily stop here,” said Maragh.
The gas station sits next to the newly built Sagicor Millennium Mall, which the mayor asserts is an integral part of May Pen’s development. According to Maragh, come later this year, the mall will be home to a significant venture that will see the employment of many Clarendonians. Maragh, however, was tight-lipped in disclosing the details of the project.
“We are working on that [project], which will see lots of activities going on here, and Select Grocers supermarket will soon be opened here, so a lot more activities will be going on right here,” said Maragh.
COMMITMENT TO GROWTH
Texaco’s operations in Jamaica were acquired by Sol Group Jamaica, from GB Energy , Sol Group announced in a press release on July 1. The group has acquired all of the Jamaican assets held by GB Energy, including its retail, aviation, LPG/autogas, commercial and lubricants activities.
An electric vehicle charging station was also installed at the location. The venture is a partnership between Sol and the Jamaica Public Service (JPS)
Karoline Smith, Sol’s general manager, said, “The initiative to install electric vehicle chargers in Jamaica aligns with Sol Ecolution, our business unit launched in early 2021 to house our renewable energy initiatives across the region. It also comes as an addition to our already prolific offerings of retail motor fuels, bulk fuels to our industrial customers, aviation fuels, lubricants and LPG/auto-LPG to the Jamaican public, cementing Sol as the most progressive energy company in Jamaica,” said Smith.
Smith added that the opening of the service station and the installation of the charging station in Mineral Heights demonstrate Sol’s commitment to growth, service, and constant innovation to customers, providing them with the best solutions to fit their lifestyles and businesses.
Brenda-Lee Martin, vice-president of asset management at Sagicor, said that even as plans for the construction of Sagicor’s Millennium Mall in the area are under way, her team saw it fitting to invite the Texaco brand to join them at the location.
Stating that the location has been ideal for business, Martin said, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected operations. She said some business owners ended their tenure due to disruptions to their businesses, thereby decreasing the occupancy level at the facility.
“We are now in excess of 60 per cent [occupancy], but we have another large tenant who is going to take up some of the space at the back, so we see the occupancy improving,” said Martin.
Martin told The Gleaner that the fast-food outlets on the mall have been attracting consumers, and the pending opening of Select Grocers is expected to attract even more.
The mall sits on approximately 10 of 21 acres of the land owned by Sagicor in the area. Martin disclosed that plans are under way to tap into residential development.
“We’re in the very early stages, but that is to come, but we do see expansion, which will be good for Clarendon and for the immediate community. The business will do well with our residential development right next door, and the environs in general. We see people coming in to do business, so overall, it’s looking positive,” Martin told The Gleaner.