The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

On­go­ing ef­forts to iden­tify new mar­kets for Saint Lu­cian pro­duc­ers and ser­vice providers by the Trade Ex­port Pro­mo­tion Agency (TEPA) this week re­sulted in the sign­ing on of five man­u­fac­tur­ers of aro­mather­apy prod­ucts and spe­cialty choco­lates by Sea Is­land Cot­ton Shop.

On Tues­day July 12, Sea Is­land Cot­ton Shop’s Buy­ing Man­ager Karen Sylvester handed their first pur­chase or­ders to Keran Rose­mond of Ali Rose Vir­gin Co­conut Oil, Ja­son Mar­cellin of Co­coa Carib, Maria Jack­son of Ca­coa Saint Lu­cie, Gre­gory Deter­ville of Can­abelle, man­u­fac­tur­ers of Belle Savon and Gina McGrath of Soufriere Soap­works, pro­duc­ers of Sailor Soaps.

With a com­bined fo­cus on grow­ing both ex­port and do­mes­tic trade, TEPA’s prod­uct scout­ing re­mains on­go­ing so as to main­tain an up­dated di­rec­tory of pro­duc­ers with the po­ten­tial to de­velop in qual­ity and com­pet­i­tive­ness. Fur­ther, the on­go­ing merger process in­volv­ing TEPA and Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre (SBDC) within the Min­istry of Com­merce is strate­gic to the aim of cre­at­ing a seam­less jour­ney for Saint Lu­cian pro­duc­ers from en­trepreneur­ship through to en­ter­prise de­vel­op­ment and, ul­ti­mately, to ex­port.

Ac­cord­ing to Sea Is­land Cot­ton Shop’s Gen­eral Man­ager, Sherma Flav­ius, the se­lected prod­uct lines add di­ver­sity to her com­pany’s grow­ing col­lec­tion of au­then­tic and in­no­va­tive Saint Lu­cian trea­sures and its on­go­ing ef­forts in forg­ing sus­tain­able and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tion­ships with do­mes­tic pro­duc­ers. This, she said, is a hall­mark of a com­pany which will cel­e­brate 40 years of trad­ing in 2017.

“We con­tinue to work very closely with quite a few of the small en­ter­prises trans­form­ing their prod­ucts into dis­tinc­tive lines, and help­ing them to see their vi­sions ma­te­ri­alise. For us, it is both our re­spon­si­bil­ity as well as our priv­i­lege to sup­port the growth of Cot­tage In­dus­tries and strengthen the sup­ply value chain,” Ms. Flav­ius said Re­fer­ring to this milestone as a win-win for her agency’s clients and Sea Is­land Cot­ton Shop, TEPA CEO Jac­que­line Em­manuel-Flood cau­tioned that the agency can only de­liver when it is able to work to­gether with es­tab­lished busi­ness part­ners, the first touch-points for the con­sumer mar­ket.

“We hope to con­tinue to strengthen this re­la­tion­ship as we watch our prod­ucts grow, our do­mes­tic mar­ket grow, our ex­port mar­kets grow and cer­tainly the econ­omy of Saint Lu­cia grow, but to do so re­quires that what we pro­duce meets con­sumer re­quire­ments and is po­si­tioned to edge-out the most ag­gres­sive com­peti­tors,” she told the gath­er­ing.

Lo­cally made spe­cialty choco­lates are among the lastest of­fer­ings from Sea Is­land Cot­ton.

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