CUL DE SAC–Cost-U-Less (CUL) warehouse store reopens its doors to shoppers today, Friday, albeit via a different entrance and with a limited, for now, offering of products. Shoppers will not find any cold or freezer products until later in next month.
The store will be open every day from 8:00am to 5:00pm. These opening hours will be revised when all the parking lot lights are restored.
The store was damaged by Hurricane Irma on September 6 and was plundered by looters after the storm passed the local area. Since that day, management and staff have banded together to get the popular store back up and running; however, only the back half of the store is open to shoppers.
The entrance to the store was severely damaged by Irma and has been closed off until repairs take place. For now, customers will enter via the delivery ramp at the back of the store. The area has been prepared to accommodate shoppers.
Temporary cashiers’ stations are in place for a smooth shopping experience in the repurposed area.
No cold or freezer products are available because of damage caused by looters.
Eric Vogtlander, Director Sales and Operations CUL Caribbean, told The Daily Herald that the store, although carrying a limited assortment of food items, has some toys and Christmas items. “It is important to have the feeling that there is a Christmas,” he said.
The store will be rebuilt and the two-decade-old building re-enhanced to improve the shopping experience. This will take about six months to complete.
Shoppers can request food and other products they are missing from the shelves by adding these to a list available instore. The company will endeavour to stock what is requested, Vogtlander said.
Coming back into the post-Irma market, Vogtlander, who had served as CUL St. Maarten head more than a decade ago, said the company is committed to the community and expressed this by maintaining its pre-Irma prices. “There are no changes to our prices. We have had our freight carriers working closely with us . … They and we understand the need for the community to get basic necessities.”
The biggest challenge with the project is acquiring materials to fix the metal structure, he said. Materials will soon be sourced out of Barbados. This is due to shortages in the southern United States and Puerto Rico, areas that were also hard hit this hurricane season. All local contractors will be used for the project.
CUL has retained the majority of its staff; some 56 employees have been hard at work getting the store ready for its reopening. Vogtlander commended all employees for their commitment and determination to get the doors back open. “They really worked hard to make this happen.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/71036-cost-u-less-reopens-with-limited-products-for-now