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Saturday, April 20, 2024


April 26, 2001 – Things are looking down for consumers on St. Thomas — pricewise, that is.
The latest entry into the St. Thomas retail arena, Pricesmart, is scheduled to open for business at 10 a.m. Friday, May 4. The St. Thomas manager, Phil Visser, hopes to woo shoppers away from the competition with unusually low prices on everything in his store.
He wouldn't say how low. "We haven't figured out the percentages yet," he said. "All I can say is it's going to be substantial. It's not going to be nickel and dime. It will be very substantial."
There's one catch. Pricesmart stores are retail enterprises modeled after the first membership merchandising chain in the United States, Price Club. To shop at Pricesmart, one must first buy an annual membership for $24. However, introductory memberships are being sold for $12.
As an alternative, first-time shoppers can obtain a one-day pass. But they will find a surcharge added to their bill by the checkout cashier.
The St. Thomas Pricesmart is located in a brand-new, 45,000-square-foot building set back from Weymouth Rhymer Highway across from Fort Mylner. There's a wide entrance and plenty of parking. Inside, the facility is well-lighted during the day, thanks to roof skylights along with electrical fixtures. The building interior is neat and clean and pleasantly cool.
The extensive product and services mix may come as a surprise to shoppers. Add some of the best features available at Kmart, Cost-U-less, Plaza Extra, Office Max and Western Auto, and you have a rough idea of what to expect at Pricesmart.
Visser, who formerly managed Cost-U-Less on St. Thomas, said, "We will keep 75 to 80 percent of the product mix in stock at all times and continually change 20 to 25 percent of the mix to keep it new and exciting."
Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Pricesmart already operates stores in Aruba, Barbados, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as in Asia and Latin America. The chain's corporate website is located at www.pricesmart.com.

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