Buying Bermuda: Launch of Shop Local Campaign

November 18, 2010

This morning [Nov 18] Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kim Wilson launched the Shop Local campaign, which is designed to encourage local residents to do their shopping in Bermuda.

Recent statistics show there was an almost 6% drop in local retail sales on a year-over-year basis when locals spent an estimated $82.7 million on goods and services during September, 2010 — a drop of $5.2 million. And overseas spending slumped in September as well, seeing a 12.9% decline from the same month in 2009.

A contracting Bermuda employment market and the lingering effects of the 2008 recession are the chief factors behind the ongoing corporate and personal belt-tightening.

Minister Wilson said “More than any other time in our history… we… Bermudians, need to be the sustainers of our economy by spending our dollars wisely, right here at home in support of our retail sector.”

Saying “These retailers are committed to staying current, affordable and responsive to their market,” she concluded by declaring “I will be Shopping Local, and I encourage every resident to Shop Local too.”

Minister Wilson’s full statement is below:

Good morning ladies and gentlemen; thank you for joining me.

Well the holiday season is definitely upon us – and judging by the community activity, it may be just a little earlier than usual.

Traditionally, retailers and residents tend to get into the holiday spirit after Thanksgiving.

But more and more, we are seeing signs of Christmas – with retailers hosting special shopping nights, holiday season commercials on television and I think someone said they’d even heard a Christmas carol on one of the local radio stations.

Well suffice to say that while once upon a time, we could wait until after the Thanksgiving celebrations to focus on Christmas, those days, regrettably are gone.

In today’s economy, locally and globally, businesses, retailers and yes Governments are thinking outside of the box and doing things differently to stimulate their economies.

Here in Bermuda we are no different.

Today as the new Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry I am pleased to join with the Bermuda Small Business Development Corporation for the launch of a wonderful campaign called Shop Local.

This is an exciting initiative for us, because the holiday period, not just locally, but internationally is a time when consumers take the plunge, shopping and spending and boosting the economy.

Special thanks to the BSBDC and the Retail Division of the Chamber of Commerce who have partnered together in creating this unique campaign aimed at driving business to our retail sector.

And our primary message with the launch of today’s campaign is simple.

In the words of the project title we want residents and visitors spending time on our Island to – Shop Local.

Ladies and gentlemen, an intense amount of work has gone into this initiative.

And in the upcoming days, residents will see a series of television ads featuring a variety of retail establishments which include both traditional and non-traditional retailers that hail from Front Street, the North Hamilton EEZ, the Warwick Rubber Tree Vendor Market and everywhere in between.

It’s a proactive partnership that uses a unique marketing approach, complete with 3-D graphics and “mobile walls”, which are constructed in such a way, that the walls can travel from Dockyard to St. George’s boosting interest and excitement in Shopping Local.

Shop Local; a simple message, yet it has a profound meaning. It conveys to consumers, that when they Shop Local, they will receive specialised, personalised customer care, and have access to a variety of unique, locally made products at comparative pricing.

Finally ladies and gentlemen, the larger message that we want to share this morning in addition to the importance of boosting our economy is that we need to support our local retailers.

More than any other time in our history… we… Bermudians, need to be the sustainers of our economy by spending our dollars wisely, right here at home in support of our retail sector.

The people who work in this sector are not strangers to us.

They are our neighbors… they are our aunts… our uncles… our brothers… sisters… mothers and fathers… they are our community… they are our families, and we must give them the support they need not only during this holiday season… but beyond.

Ladies and gentlemen, today we stand together proud in promoting this vital sector whose workforce and employees are majority Bermudian.

These retailers are committed to staying current, affordable and responsive to their market.

And I am thrilled to know that through the Government funding provided to the BSBDC and our partners at Chamber of Commerce this informative and supportive message to Shop Local can be delivered.

I will be Shopping Local, and I encourage every resident to Shop Local too.

Thank you.

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Comments (19)

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  1. user says:

    I shop locally — the grocery stores are local, right? And food is about all I can afford to buy. No-one is getting anything for Christmas, and I’m just glad that I don’t have a kid to try to explain that to.
    Drop payroll tax, or do something to help retailers bring prices down (changes to duty), and then I will happily start buying the work clothes I need, and unnecessary items that I would like to from local retailers.

  2. Dee says:

    It’s all very well to ask us to shop local but someone should have a word with some of the shopkeepers and as them to lower their prices and not be so greedy. We all know they pay duty, we all know they need to make a profit and we all know that shipping costs need to be factored in but when a store is showing an item at three times and more the cost it can be bought for in the US that’s being greedy.

  3. Tired of nonsense says:

    The retailers need to provide detailed breakdowns as to why and how they can justify the massive markups on their products.

    For instance I went to a local IT store on Victoria Street scoping out the prices for hard drives last week and saw one that cost $280. I took note of the product and the price and went home and Googled it to find out that the exact same model that I can get via for as low as $75. Why Buy BDA again?

    I understand that duty and shipping is expensive, but the differences in prices being offered in BDA as compared to a country less than 2 hours away does appear to be quite excessive.

    The retailers need to provide a detailed breakdown of all their expenses and subsequent markups to the public. Because just going off price comparisons with the USA it appears that the BDA public is being ripped off somewhat. And lets not get into the service, or lack of it, being offered by local retailers! My computer and paypal account is a thousand times more friendly and helpful then the majority of local customer service representatives prevalent in BDA.

  4. Limerick says:

    “I will be Shopping Local, and I encourage every resident to Shop Local too.”

    Right, because my salary is about what you make, Minister Wilson.

    • Not Surprised says:

      Well said and agreed. I can’t afford to buy any presents this year. So sorry will only buy Bermuda at the grovery store. I can do food and that’s about it. I have let everyone know that although i would love to buy them gifts. I simply can not afford that and pay bills and rent at the same time. And i don’t think the bill collectors want to here “Well i had to buy a Christmas Present”.

      It’s very sad and makes me want to break into tears, but the realilty is salaries are so low and everyone is struggling. The ministers gave themselves great raises. While the Bermuda public get their measley 3% cost of living increase. Not Fair!

      • Sara says:

        You know what the holidays are so much more than just gift giving anyway. Because of capitalism, we have been taught that you have to give everyone gifts for every occasion. Most of the time its not even anything we need. We need to eat and drink, but we don’t need gifts. Everyone wants your money and that is why we think we need the newest phone, the newest game, computer, clothes. Don’t let them trick you. Your better saving your money than spending it on things we don’t need. If you’re not rich you should be saving anyway. Times are only going to get tougher and when they do your cash will take you MUCH further than that i pad.

      • user says:

        Hah! We didn’t even get a cost of living increase, haven’t for several years now.

  5. Melissa Moniz says:

    Let’s see…. Christmas gifts. Yup, my daughter will get a loaf of bread, my son will get some milk, my husband might get some chicken, and if I feel like splurging on myself, I just might get some eggs for me! All this at a LOCAL store. Wahoo.

    • Tired of nonsense says:


      Have you seen the markup on Wahoo in grocery stores? You better make that a joint present for the family and drop the eggs!!

      • Limerick says:

        Not to mention the markup on Salmon, a favorite of mine, from a year ago.

    • Bri says:

      Melissa, that made me LOL!!! I completely feel what you’re saying!

  6. Jman says:

    I agree with you Dee, somone needs to speak to the shopkeepers, and Customs, because the prices on foreign goods and local goods are disgusting. I bought school shirts for 3 pounds for a pack of three shirts compared to the 20bucks they sell for shirts here. I’ll buy locally when the greedy shop keepers prices goes down.

  7. Triangle Drifter says:

    Sorry Bermuda shopkeepers. All of my Christmas shoppiing is finished & barely a penny was spent on Island.

    I can live with prices 100% over shelf prices in the US, barely. By the time sales tax, duty, the price of a shooping trip with airfare, hotel, car rental & restaurants are figured in along with the additional per bag charges & weight limits, you need to have done your math to break even.

    The big advantage is variety of choice & simple availability of what you want. I hate the aggravation of a lack of parking in town only to find out that the store is out of stock. Grrrrrr!

    Of course Bermuda service, or lack of it, is legendary. For example, I recently purchased a major appliance, at more than 100% more than US BTW. It was installed & a part was found defective. Replacement part was orderd & the company wanted to charge for the replacement part & the service call to replace it. After a number of calls to the service department & accounts department, much aggravation, they canceled the charge.

  8. Shopper says:

    How about if retailers staffed their shops with people who were actually moderately interested in their jobs??? I am SICK of walking into shops where the sales staff are talking or texting on their cell phones, look offended if you ask for assistance, all but suck their teeth at you when you come in, don’t even acknowledge you when you do come in, don’t ring you up with any measure of efficiency, etc.- you get my point.

    I don’t have a lot of money to spend, and I would spend it locally if I felt that retailers gave even half a fig about the customer. And forget about returning something, you may as well be demanding their first born. My ‘favorite’ shop, which I won’t name, takes the cake on that one- charged me $150 for a $25 computer cable, I brought it home, didn’t open it, and hubby told me it was the wrong thing. I went to exchange it for an equally expensive item, and the very officious and rude salesgirl who told me just the day before that I could exchange it pointed me toward a tattered photocopied ‘sign’ taped up on the wall behind the register that said ‘No Returns’. And, when I tried to call the owner to straighten it out, I left no fewer than ten messages over six weeks before I ‘got the message’. I wasn’t going to get a call back. A fine example how customer service doesn’t even enter the equation anymore. Do you really think I’d shop there again? Really?

    So, I do shop abroad, with a very few notable exceptions. There’s Pulp and Circumstance, the new gourmet shop where P&C used to be, MAC cosmetics, Daisy & Mac at the Washington Mall (haven’t been to the other one). I can always count on at least being greeted in those shops- which is an increasing rarity here. So- respectfully, Minister Wilson- I’d be delighted to Buy Bermuda- but has any thought been given to what we consumers get in return? I’d happily support my fellow Bermudians, but what’s in it for me? A pleasant shopping experience? Generally no. Great customer service? Generally…no. Selection? Well, no, but I understand how retailers are caught there- but still…it should be better than shopping in pre-Glasnost Russia.

    So…wash our hands and we’ll gladly wash yours, Retailers…

  9. Butterfly says:

    I would be happy to shop local, as I do think that some stores have a decent selection. The trouble is, most stores are closed by the time I get out of work. For me to actually do any type of shopping during the work week, I have to either (a) use my lunch hour and starve, or (b)sneak out of the office and hope no one from work sees me! This means that I’m always in a rush, increasing the chances that I won’t find what I’m looking for. Yes, I can shop on Saturdays, but I would find it much more convenient to shop during the week when I’m already in town.

    I know, I know, opening stores later may cut into “family time” for those working in retail, but I do know that if I was a high school or college student, I would be more than happy to work in retail on a part-time basis after school. I may even be cheaper to pay.

    So Retailers, stay open later throughout the week (let’s say, until 7:30pm), and I’ll be out there shopping. I understand keeping the store open for more hours may increase your costs. Then you may consider opening up the store a little later in the morning. 11:00am perhaps? This way, working professionals, such as myself, can have more time to spend our well-earned disposable income on the stuff you’re selling.

  10. I'm a consumer too... says:

    I can’t fault anyone on their remarks so far. I’m in complete agreement on issues such as markup , service , refunds ,selection , returns etc and etc. But wages are the single largest operating expense in just about every single business.
    When people can’t work for a lesser wage because their rent accounts for 80% of their living expenses shop owners have to also pass this on to consumers.
    Maybe if we re-evaluated our costs of housing (on a massive and realistic scale) everything else would become affordable. The real greed on this island starts with the people who own the houses and the banks.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      As a homeowner & landlord I can’t leave this one unanswered. The whole cost thing in Bermuda is a vicious circle. ICT take a look at building costs. At one point labour was 30% of the cost to build a house. Now it is something like 60% of the cost to build. This is despite all the time saving & labour saving tools in use today. This, despite all the extra stuff that goes into a house today that it did not have 30 or 40 years ago.

      This demonstrates how expensive & inefficient labour has become. So, who has helped in no small way to drive up the costs of housing/rents? It is the very people who want to rent & buy those houses. Rents BTW have dropped, particularly in the mid to high end markets due to the exodus of foreign office workers from the IB sector.

      The good news is that as construction slows & retail contracts, those still left with a job will have a change in attitude towards their job as they realize that they are very close to being out of a job.

      Welcome to the real world Bermuda. Say thankyou to the PLP Government for delivering you here.

  11. Sara says:

    Let’s not forget, They are SHUTTING DOWN streets in Hamilton over the weekend. Construction of roads just in time for the shopping season. If I were a shopkeeper in Hamilton, I would be Very angry at the corporation of Hamilton doing all this roadwork. It will definitely keep me OUT OF TOWN on the weekends until its DONE.

  12. Fed up says:

    The kicker is that a good deal of the low end workers being brought into Bermuda, at the expense of Bermudians, are sending their money via western union to their family back in the Philippines or wherever else. They aren’t shopping local, instead they make their way into the thrift stores, or buy things off emoo and make a point to ask for a discount( I speak from VAST personal experience with that one). Then you’re crying out to the same overlooked Bermudians to buy local. Cry me a river….