April 23, 2005 – What Christiansted shoppers gained in saved miles, Frederiksted shoppers will have to tack on to their grocery trip as one of St Croix's major retailers moves from the west side of the island to east of center.
Cost-U-Less is relocating May 26 to Peter's Rest, next door to Plaza Extra east. Both stores compete in the grocery line. Cost-U-Less, however, focuses on sales of large quantities and self service.
Roy Sorensen, spokesperson for Cost-U-Less speaking from Seattle, Wash, said, "The warehouse format is what we are."
The Cost-U-Less on the west side offered little competition to Plaza Extra and other St. Croix grocery stores like Pueblo and Foodtown in sales of fresh produce.
Cost-U-Less's produce section was small and only offered prepackaged produce. That is going to be one of the big changes that shoppers will notice in the new store, Sorensen said Friday. He said, "Customers will be able to buy a broad assortment of produce and they will be able to do it by weight."
This won't be the only product area to see growth. The new store is 38,000 square feet, a 45 percent increase over the present store.
The present store offers some TVs, DVD players, VCRs, stereos, small appliances, and office supplies. Sorensen said the offerings in these items will increase dramatically at the new location.
According to Sorensen, the lease had been about to expire at the old location. "This land became available and we decided by locating here we could optimally serve all our customers."
Cost-U-Less currently operates eleven stores in the Caribbean and Pacific region. There are two in the U.S. Virgin Islands and also two in the Netherlands Antilles, the Hawaiian Islands , and Guam. The others are located in California, American Samoa, and Republic of Fiji.
In a press announcement, J. Jeffrey Meder, the company's president and CEO, said about St. Croix,
"Our current location is one of the smallest stores in the chain. This has posed merchandising and operational challenges. A bigger and improved store will allow us to add the retail enhancements that we have to offer such as fresh produce by the pound and rotisserie chicken, features we successfully added to our recently reopened store in Dededo, Guam, our Sonora, Calif., and Curacao stores. The larger building simply allows us the opportunity to better serve our St Croix customers."
Additional information about Cost-U-Less is available at www.costuless.com .
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