Sunday 19 August, 2018

Hotel supplier eyes JSE listing, new round of expansion

With an eye on the growing tourist sector, Everything Fresh Limited, a premier importer and distributor of produce, dairy, seafood, meat and other food products, aims to list on the Jamaica Stock Exchange in short order.

The company is a major supplier to the hotel sector, as well as to supermarkets and other retail outlets.

Managing Director of Everything Fresh, Courtney Pullen, while declining to give details of the proposed IPO, says the company’s success is attributable to its relentless attention to on-time delivery of fresh produce and focus on customer service.

“Due to our commitment to maintaining standards of high quality, we keep getting customer referrals,” Pullen said. “We strive to be of great value to all our customers.”

Everything Fresh traces its origins back to 1996, with Pullen operating as a sole trader, selling local farm produce to supermarkets. 

After three years of operating at this level, the principal officers of Everything Fresh made the decision to purchase imported fruits and vegetables from the U.S. through a local Jamaican importer.

Enjoying higher sales with the imported products, the company was renamed as C.L. Pullen Limited in March 2003.  Continued success led to C.L. Pullen Limited becoming a direct importer of goods from the US and in doing this, the profit range increased. 

Further evolution in August of 2003 resulted in the rebirth of the company under its new name of Everything Fresh Limited.

Several years later, the company embarked on distributing dairy and dry food products, as well as deli meats to supermarkets, further opening new business opportunities. 

Direct purchasing led to lower prices and enabled the company to enter the hotel supply market, gaining Riu, Fiesta, Secrets, Iberostar, Bahia, Royalton, Couples and Jewels as customers, among others.

Everything Fresh became a supplier to those and other resort hotels, initially providing dairy products, dry food products and deli meats. With the advent of this new hotel market, and the closure of meat supplier National Meats, the company took the opportunity to expand further, purchasing two Freight Liner trucks and building three freezer rooms to accommodate the increased orders.  Sales of imported meat and seafood also extended to the other hotels.

The surge in the arrivals of tourists to the island has created a corresponding increase in the demand for quality food items at hotels and resorts. 

Visitor arrivals have increased by 25 per cent over the last five years, according to a study commissioned jointly by the Tourism Ministry and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), with corresponding increases in foreign exchange earnings of 12 per cent. 

The island welcomed over three million visitors in 2015, and this trend continued in 2016, increasing by just over five per cent over the previous year. Provisional data from the Jamaica Tourist Board shows that arrivals for 2017 actually surpassed the 4 million mark.

In addition to Courtney Pullen, Everything Fresh’s board of directors includes its Chairman Gregory Pullen, Melene Pullen, Garret Gardener, Nesha Carby, Mark Croskery, Donovan Perkins,  Vivette Miller and Jennifer Lewis.