Photo supplied
MINI-MALL: The Hub, one of 20 retail outlets at Gallery 61.
Photo supplied MINI-MALL: The Hub, one of 20 retail outlets at Gallery 61.

A co-operative style indoor market is blossoming in Warwick, keeping prices down for shoppers through lower, shared overheads.

Gavin Kennedy, a cellphone and smartphone retailer, came up with the concept for ‘Gallery 61’ about two years ago, with fellow vendor Janet Perinchief.

It proved so popular they now share warehouse space at 61 Middle Road (opposite Warwick Preschool), with up to 20 other entrepreneurs.

“We started out with four vendors and then after two months, reached 14, and now we have 20,” he said.

“They sell everything from candy to hair products, ladies’ clothing, homemade jewellery, incense and candles. MoneyGram has also just opened up.

“What this allows us to do is keep our overheads low and so we can keep our prices lower.

“People who can’t afford to set up in a retail space of their own now have an opportunity to grow.

“Individuals who sell goods from the back of their car on the weekend now have the opportunity to rent space and grow their brand and name.

“We all help each other, as each of us helps to bring in customers for the other vendors. This market also attracts shoppers to Warwick and away from Hamilton, so it’s a nice scene.”

Mr Kennedy, who owns The Hub — an outlet for cell and smartphones — started selling phone accessories and flash drives from the back of his car at the Rubber Tree Market, Warwick, three years ago.

“Two years ago the opportunity came up to move to a new location at Heron Bay MarketPlace, with a partner who sold baby clothes (Ms Perinchief),” he said.

“We did well there but quickly ran out of space as more and more people wanted to come in with us and share our concept, sharing the rent and the overheads.

“As the concept seemed to work so well we decided to expand to our current location, the old warehouse at 61 Middle Road.

“It used to be a hardware store and so we did some renovations inside and ramped it up.

“We gradually brought in more and more vendors.

“Between us all, it keeps our rent down and gives us a bigger location to work with.”

The building, named ‘Gallery 61’, offers 1,500 square feet of space, and Mr Kennedy encourages other vendors to join them.

“We are always looking for new vendors to come in with us,” he said.

“Anyone who is looking to become an entrepreneur and to get started should contact us.

“It does well,” he said, of the venue. “Even in this day and age it is holding its own and all the vendors are happy.

“You can get your own retail space from $150 a month for a four foot long, by eight foot high section.

“For those weekend vendors we can provide shelter from the elements as well as a seven-day week environment.”

At The Hub, Mr Kennedy still sells phone accessories but for the past year has also sold cell and smartphones.

“There was definitely a demand for someone to bring in phones at a more reasonable price,” he said.

The Hub stocks BlackBerry, Samsung and iPhone products, and also  tablets.

“We were the first to bring in the BlackBerry Z10, about six weeks ago,” said Mr Kennedy.

“We also sell pre-paid phones and top-ups for CellOne and Digicel, which gives them a presence in Warwick.

“We are trying to build up the community, to make Warwick a better place to shop. We are also hoping to do some initiatives with Baptiste Ltd and Hunt’s Food & Supplies Ltd (retail stores in Warwick) soon.

“We want to remind people that there are other places to shop outside of Hamilton and Dockyard.

“We have a mini-mall here of up to 20 different vendors.” n

If you are interested in contacting Mr Kennedy call 238-0650. Gallery 61: Monday to Saturday, 11am-6pm, and Sundays, 1-5pm.