Jim Butterfield, chairman and CEO of Butterfield &amp; Vallis, explains his company&rsquo;s philosophy to US Consulate General Grace Shelton. <em>*Photo supplied</em>
Jim Butterfield, chairman and CEO of Butterfield & Vallis, explains his company’s philosophy to US Consulate General Grace Shelton. *Photo supplied

FRIDAY, MAR. 30: One of the ways Bermuda can remain a viable tourist destination is by delivering top quality products.

That’s where Butterfield & Vallis has a role to play.

Jim Butterfield, chairman and CEO, said his company “has always said we’re going to go with the national leaders — food, fish, meat. We have always stood for that.”

He added the vendors — who were at the Butterfield & Vallis Food Trade Show on Wednesday at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess — had always sent them the “great products and the right pricing, then we have to deliver the service.

“We don’t take the locals for granted. We have to earn their respect and their trust each and every day. They have a choice. They can call several other people if we drop the ball, so each and every day Butterfield and Vallis tries to go out and earn their respect.

“All of us are trying our best to upgrade Bermuda and keep high standards because people pay a lot to come here.

“That’s okay if they get good service and good quality products. That’s what we are showcasing here is people demonstrating the good quality products.

“Our challenge is to get it here at the right price and on a good timely basis.

“This is one thing we can do to try to improve the product the visitors are going to experience when they get here.”

Mr Butterfield said: “We’ve always been challenged to take an inferior product or a product that is lower in price but doesn’t have the same quality, but we’ve steered away from that.”

He said that was a slippery slope as buying a slightly cheaper/inferior product today, could lead to an even more inferior product tomorrow, all with the view of chasing the lowest price.

“We have always tried to buy in large qualities and if we have to go all the way to Vietnam to get a container of fish, that’s what we’ll do. It’s a big commitment, but if that will get the fish here at the right price, that’s what we’ll do.

“We’ve had to go further in a global sense, but we’ve stuck with quality.

“We’ll never compromise that.”

The Food Trade, held on Wednesday, had around 30 vendors.

Mr Butterfield added they put on the show every few years there aren’t enough new products out every year to justify having one.

An example he used is Kimberly-Clark, who are known for their paper products like Scott, Viva and Kleenex.

“The trade doesn’t move that fast that every year there is something new.”

Liza Bensimon, who works for Bridor France — a company known for their world-class pastries — said the show was important so restaurants and hotels can see and taste how good they are.

Ms Bensimon said: “The product is looking really good I am very excited.”

US Consulate General Grace Shelton was on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the show.

She said Butterfield and Vallis plays an important role “in assisting US exporters to reach the Bermuda market and US exporters know they have a solid partner in Butterfield and Vallis.”