|Financial Services Minister tours Grand Bahama manufacturer Island Bedding|
|Friday, 17 August 2012 15:19|
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Husband and wife team Bruce and Maura Chee-a-Tow are one of several business owners in Grand Bahama now exploring new ways to improve operations following an official visit by Financial Services Minister Ryan Pinder to their Island Bedding warehouse.
“We’ve been in business for nine years and it’s the first time anyone [in government] has ever come to see us,” said Mr. Chee-a-Tow. “This is fantastic because he wants to help us continue making people happy, which is all we want to do.”
The Chee-a-Tow’s are Grand Bahama’s only bedding manufacturer, with a 100 percent Bahamian owned warehouse in Freeport’s bonded area. With six full-time employees, the Chee-a-Tow’s have not been without their challenges in current economic conditions. They are now communicating with Minister Pinder, who is also responsible for Industry, on ways in which the business environment they operate under can be improved.
"Their main concern was the ability to provide products for markets outside of Freeport,” said Mr. Pinder, who is also responsible for Industry. “This would be accomplished either by expanding to other islands or exporting from Freeport duty free.”
Key to expansion plans, is the Industries Encouragement Act, which formed part of the discussion to the extent that Island Bedding seeks to further develop its business and establish a new plant in The Bahamas. Mr. Pinder toured the facilities recently in an effort to get a better understanding on how he can facilitate a thriving industry on the island through businesses like the manufacturer.Currently, Island Bedding competes with mattresses imported into the country from the U.S. Mr. Chee-a-Tow asserts that it is in the best interest of Bahamian consumers to patronize businesses like his, given Island Bedding’s high-quality mattresses and box springs can be customized, even after delivered.
“If our customers are not happy, we can readjust their mattresses for them,” he said. “No one else can do that after they’ve shipped it to them. We like making people happy.”
Minister Pinder said consultation will continue with the industrial sector in Grand Bahama to better things on the island.
“It is a part of our mandate to listen and hear what opportunities exist,” he said. “And that’s what I am doing.”
Photo: Island Bedding owners Bruce and Maura Chee-a-Tow (L-R) and staff show Permanent Secretary Harrison Thompson and Industry Minister Ryan Pinder how their beds are made. (Photographer: Vandyke Hepburn)
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