By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
Commonwealth Brewery's retail arm was among multiple liquor stores able to yesterday start selling inventory that the industry feared might go past its sell-by date had the lockdown not eased.
Ron Hepburn, Commonwealth Brewery's director of retail, said its 700 Wines and Spirits chain "relaunched our online sales platform" after the government permitted companies to begin offering delivery and curb side pick-up services.
"Here, individual customers can shop online and have their purchases delivered to their homes or businesses within 24 to 48 hours," he said. "We are pleased to offer this service to our customers in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera. Access to this business to computer (B2C) platform will soon be re-activated in Acklins and Inagua."
"While we are pleased to be back at work after six weeks, we both value and agree with the government's requirements for businesses to operate in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In tandem with the government's phased approach, we have staggered our resumption of services, modelling our new way of working to ensure that we are we maintain the highest standards of safety that protect both our employees and our customers."
The government yesterday moved the Bahamian economy to the second stage of its phased re-opening, allowing businesses that can provide delivery and curb side pick-up to operate from Monday through Friday between the hours of 8am and 5pm.
Mr Hepburn added: "Curbside pick-up is presently available in Acklins and Inagua, and we anticipate New Providence, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera having access to this service in the coming days/ weeks. As more islands open for commercial business, we will be reopening for online and curb side service to those communities.
"While our retail business - 700 Wines and Spirits - slowly regains its momentum, Commonwealth Brewery is also offering service to our business customers (mainly liquor stores and restaurants). These customers can place orders by e-mail or via phone. Commonwealth Brewery is also only offering delivery service as the method to receive purchases.
"We are confident that the measures we are implementing meet the Bahamas Government safety requirements and Heineken global safety standards related to COVID-19, and we will continue to model our operations in a way that protects both our customers and employees."
Other liquor stores also moved rapidly to re-open and get employees back to work following six weeks of earning zero revenue. Jimmy's Wines and Spirits, the retail arm of the Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company, told customers it is offering free home delivery in addition to curb side pick-up.
"Following the government rules, all stores on all islands except Wulff Road will have curb side pick up. There is no minimum purchase required. Interested persons can contact the stores directly by the numbers on our website, or drive up to the store and a Jimmy's representative will serve you while you remain in your vehicle," the retailer said.
"Please remember to wear your masks and observe social distancing at all times so we all can enjoy this new service. We also ask that you try to be patient with us as we all get used to this new process and try to serve you as quickly and efficiently as we can."
Liquid Courage, meanwhile, sent out a message explaining to customers how they could order via e-mail. It said: "You can also call in your order to the nearest location. Be prepared for the lines to be busy - e-mail is better. Call in your order and we will let you know when it is ready for curbside pick-up.
"Please respect all social distancing guidelines and be patient with our hard-working Liquid Courage team while we adjust to this new process.... We will begin delivery service once the expected Monday rush slows, and we can ensure delivery times."