Price is King for two brothers whose wholesale warehouses are bringing islanders low prices for everyday items.
Michael and Jason DeMello say they give their products a low mark-up “across the board” to provide their customers with the best value.
The pricing strategy is working in their favour, with people travelling from across the island to stock up at Fresh n New and Fresh n New Too.
Michael DeMello said customers are growing more price savvy as they seek to stretch their dollars further in the recession.
“Ninety per cent of our products are bulk size,” he said.
“We have smaller items here and there but it’s the family sizes which are working well in this economy.
“We’ve picked up business as people are shopping smarter and are definitely doing their homework as far as prices are concerned.
“They are trying to save as much as they can.
“Price is King and customers are now very educated price-wise.
“They even come in here and let us know the prices from other stores.
“We try to be as competitive as possible and do what we can, but there are some things that are out of our control.”
“We sell everything from cleaning products to pet food to sodas.
“Our drinks are our biggest sellers. We sell thousands of cases of bottled water every week.
“Soda and fruit juice is also popular, particularly fruit juice packs for kids to take to school such as Capri Sun.” Pet food, particularly Meow Mix, and bulk boxes of cereal are also big sellers, he said.
Customers can find everything they need for the kitchen and home, such as paper towels, condiments, coffee, pancake mixes, pastas, snacks, diapers, toothpaste and shampoo.
Typical prices are: 40 x 16.9 oz bottles of water $10; 12 cans of Pepsi $7.99; 215 oz Arm and Hammer detergent $23.75; 1.38 kg Honey Nut Cheerios $8.50; and 1.18 litres Herbal Essences shampoo $11.75.
The brothers opened Fresh n New at Devil’s Hole, Smith’s, three years ago.
Mr DeMello said: “It used to be a little ‘mom and pop’ convenience store and a video rental place before we took it over.”
During this year’s Cup Match (July) they opened a second store, Fresh n New Too, at Blue Hole Hill, Hamilton Parish.
The premises was a former glass blowing factory and motorcycle repair shop before it was acquired by the two brothers.
Since then, Mr DeMello said, business has been booming.
Mr DeMello previously owned Music World in Hamilton but closed the music store in May because of declining sales due to the growing popularity of digital downloads.
Bulk household consumable goods however, are thriving at Fresh n New.
Mr DeMello said: “We seem to be one of the few businesses in this economy which is growing.
“We say it’s better to give people better value for their money, so we keep our prices as low as possible.”
The brothers import their goods from distributors on the US East Coast but also use local suppliers such as Dunkley’s and Butterfield and Vallis.
Although other bulk wholesale start-ups have emerged in the last few years, making the market “more competitive”, the DeMellos are confident their business can only grow.
“I see this business has enormous growth because people are very money conscious nowadays,” said Mr DeMello.
“The key is price — if we keep our prices the way we have and as low as we can, that keeps people coming back.
“We even get people driving all the way from Somerset to come here (Fresh n New Too), but both stores are doing tremendous business right now.
“We don’t mark up our products as 70 per cent on one item and 20 per cent on the other.
“We try to keep prices across the board and we find that works well.”
Fresh n New is open seven days a week, with the second store to also open on Sundays once staffing arrangements have been finalised.
Overall, the business employs seven full-time and six part-time staff, all Bermudian.
Fresh n New receives shipments of goods weekly and next week will start stocking Christmas items such as gift bath sets, cheese and biscuits, Danish cookies and chocolate.
Fresh n New, 5 Devil’s Hole Hill, Smith’s Parish, open Monday to Saturday, 6:30am-8pm, and Sunday 7am-2pm. Contact 293-8072.
Fresh n New Too, 16 Blue Hole Hill, Hamilton Parish, open Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm, and Saturday 8am-8pm. Contact 296-0998.