State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern, has welcomed the investment and job creation opportunities stemming from the opening of the Payless ShoeSource franchise in the island.
“With Payless being here, it is sending a signal to others, who are (looking at) investing in Jamaica to come quickly (and) take advantage of (the opportunities that exist). We are very happy for the business that you will be providing,” he said.
The State Minister was speaking on Thursday February 17 at the official opening of the Payless store located at the Boulevard Super Centre in Kingston.
He said Jamaica is recognised as one of the “fastest turning-around economies coming out of the recession and that is why I believe we are attracting companies like Payless to Jamaica."
Mr. Stern used the opportunity to encourage potential investors to come to the island, stating that it is time for Jamaica to be the number one place for investment in the Caribbean.
“With our improvement in the macroeconomic situation…we are expecting to see more investment in such areas as tourism, hospitality, ICT (information communication technology), and knowledge services,” he said, while also pointing to opportunities in the creative sector.
Executive Vice President of Payless ShoeSource, Steve Gish, informed that plans are in place to open 10 stores in the island, which would create employment for 70 to 100 persons.
He said the intent is to open five stores in the spring, and the other five in the fall. Mr. Gish informed that the hiring process will be done ahead of opening, allowing time for training “to deliver service the Payless way”.
“Our service model is called the SMILE, which is an acronym for a number of key things, but mainly, we want our associates to provide friendly helpful service, we want them to greet every customer, we want them to offer assistance,” he said.
During the ceremony, Mr. Gish handed out $225,000 in charitable donation, with the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) receiving $100,000 of the sum for the purchasing of a digital mammogram machine; $75,000 going to the Maxfield Park Children’s Home; while Pembroke Hall High School received $50,000.
In making the presentations, Mr. Gish said “everything we do is from a customer standpoint. Our primary customer is women, and so we have long partnered with breast cancer awareness charities because of the connection with women, and our number two customer after women is children."
The United States-based Payless ShoeSource Inc. is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere.
It has a strong brand portfolio of well-recognised names including AirWalk ®, Champion ®, Dexter ®, American Eagle ™ by Payless, as well as its designer labels Christian Siriano for Payless, Isabel Toledo for Payless, Lela Rose for Payless, among others.
CONTACT: CHRIS PATTERSON