Howell Center Super U General Manager Fréderic Vuillier (left), Super U Marketing Director Marion Beltzung (centre) and new Hope Estate Super U General Manager Alain Grezeleau. (Robert Luckock photo)
MARIGOT–The new Super U supermarket in Hope Estate will open to the public at 8:00am June 18, supermarket chain executives disclosed at a press conference in the Howell Center branch on Wednesday afternoon.
An official inauguration is planned for a later date in July. The shopping floor surface area is 1,720m2, some 200 square metres bigger than the Howell Center market, and there is parking for 135 cars.
The supermarket will also have a pharmacy inside, the pharmacy that was formerly located in Cul-de-Sac.
The Director of the new Super U in Hope Estate is Alain Grezeleau who hails from Aix-en-Provence, Southern France.
“The prices will be the same in both supermarkets and on the permanent products, and promotions and the hours are the same,” said Managing Director Jean-Pierre Deguille of the new supermarket. “It should be noted that Super U, following [Hurricane – Ed.] Irma, did not increase its prices except for fluctuations in market prices or if a cold snap in mainland France caused the price of certain products to rise, and therefore beyond our control.
“Readjustments will only be made according to customer demand. If some products are consumed more than others, depending on one store or other, there will be a slight price difference. Obviously in the beginning and for the opening there will be more promotions at Hope Estate than at Howell Center. And the organic ‘bio’ sections will be more extensive due to the larger area of the supermarket.
“Our priority is to continue ordering from France in the first place and secondly from Europe, and, of course, to include local products wherever possible. We don’t have an affiliate in the USA, so we made the choice not to distribute American products. All our products conform to EU standards for sanitation and consumption.
“Super U tries to work as hard as possible with local producers to keep the local economy alive as much as possible by not only creating jobs, but also by forming partnerships with local producers: market gardeners (for salads) and eggs. It is difficult to obtain a partnership for the fish or the meat industry because it must be very structured in terms of time and continuity, i.e. have regular supplies every week.”
As for as employees are concerned, the supermarket will open with some 30 employees sourced from the unemployment office (Pôle Emploi), but this number will certainly increase as time goes on.
Deguille explained that the objective after Hurricane Irma was to build a supermarket and storage warehouse as strong as possible. The result is a building that can withstand winds of 450km per hour.
“The foundations are very solid and a lot more concrete and metal was used, with other considerations added that were not in the original plans. Customers will notice the entrance is quite small compared to France where it is typical to have a big flashy entrance and a small supermarket inside. We decided to take a minimalist approach with a small entrance to reduce damage from hurricane-force wind, but with fast and efficient opening, and put more attention on the interior design. All the doors are very secure and hurricane-proof.”
He said construction of the new building had gone very fast considering demolition work on the former building only started in February 2019. The local contractors mentioned included Energy 2000 for electricity, the Deledevert Group, ATP for plumbing, DVS Alarm, and many others. A contractor from France was used only for the cold storage, as some of the required expertise or equipment was not available locally.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/88072-new-super-u-in-hope-estate-opens-to-the-public-june-18