State Minister Ffolkes-Abrahams Welcomes Growth of Franchises

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams (right), tries out an accessory in the St. Andrew store of American wireless accessories firm, Cellairis, being demonstrated to her by repair technician, Ernesto Panton. Local franchisee, Sancia Bennett-Templer, looks on. The store, located at Lower Manor Plaza, was officially opened on Wednesday, December 18.

Story Highlights

  • State Minister Ffolkes-Abrahams, has welcomed the growth of overseas-owned franchises in Jamaica.
  • Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams was speaking on Wednesday, December 18, at the official opening of American wireless accessory retailer, Cellairis’ first store in Jamaica.
  • Cellairis has partnered with local firm, Communicase, to establish its market-base.

State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, has welcomed the growth of overseas-owned franchises in Jamaica, particularly entities partnering with local stakeholders.

Such development, she said, is testament of the “attractiveness” of Jamaica’s market, and is a “positive signal to prospective investors, who may be considering Jamaica as a destination for other investments.”

Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams was speaking on Wednesday, December 18, at the official opening of American wireless accessory retailer, Cellairis’ first store in Jamaica, at Lower Manor Plaza, St. Andrew.

The State Minister said Cellairis not only joins a growing number of overseas franchises operating in Jamaica, but also diversifies the product offerings on the landscape, traditionally dominated by popular food chains.

“Franchising is but one of the investment models utilized by the transnational companies engaged in non-equity modes. A 2011 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)…noted that cross-border franchising sales totaled approximately US$350 billion in 2010, employing over 19,000 persons,” she informed.

She said that Cellairis’ entry into Jamaica is a welcome addition to the business and investment landscape, based on the entity’s background.

The firm, described as a world leader in the provision of wireless accessories, has been in operation for 13 years, seven of which have been in franchising. The entity, which prides itself in providing quality customer service and repairs, has grown exponentially over the past six years and currently operates from over 700 locations across the United States and seven other countries, including Jamaica, its first Caribbean operation.

Among Cellairis’ accolades is a number 87 ranking on the globally-respected Entrepreneur Magazine’s top 500 franchise list; a number 8 ranking on Atlanta Business Chronicles’ Top Atlanta-based Franchises; and being listed as the 11th fastest growing franchise for 2013 by Entrepreneur Magazine.

Cellairis has partnered with local firm, Communicase, headed by former Jamaica Promotions Corporation (Jampro) President, Sancia Bennett-Templer, to establish its market-base.

In commending the partnership, Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams described the launch as a “wonderful occasion”.

“The Ministry is pleased to welcome Cellairis to Jamaica’s shores. We thank you for choosing Jamaica as your first stop for the Caribbean, and we hope that, from here, you will launch out into the rest of the Caribbean,” the State Minister said.

Cellairis’ Vice President for Franchise Sales, Marty Welch, described the local store’s opening as a “special occasion”. He pointed out that the partnership struck the right chord following discussions between himself and Mrs. Templer at the 2013 International Franchise Expo in New York, in June.

“We are very excited about the partnership. I think that this (store opening) is just a stepping stone for us to the future…not only here in Kingston, but other parts of the island and also into the Caribbean, as a whole. So we are really looking forward to great things,’ Mr. Welch stated.

In her remarks, Mrs. Templer described the partnership as the right ‘fit’ for Jamaica.

“From the moment we saw the Cellairis booth (at the expo), we thought (that) this is exactly the kind of thing that would work well in Jamaica…and I think we have a winner here,” she said.

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