Two months after Hurricane Dorian leveled parts of Abaco bringing commerce to a standstill, Maxwell’s Supermarket and Home Store is reopening today, signaling the road to recovery of the island’s devastated economy.
Co-owner Chad Sawyer said though the building sustained minimal damage during the Category 5 storm and the company has spent the past several weeks making temporary repairs to the roof of the building, cleaning up debris and restocking shelves in preparation for the reopening.
He said with several essential businesses geared up to also reopen on the island out of his building, Maxwell’s is poised to become a business hub on the island “temporarily”.
“Commonwealth has a location designated out, about 1500 square feet and they’re putting a little office there, a bank I guess. We have a customs brokerage here, we have an insurance agent, we have a pharmacy which will be coming in about three weeks, also Cable Bahamas and BTC,” Sawyer told Guardian Business yesterday.
Sawyer said he expects the businesses to be at his location for at least a year or so, perhaps two.
The businessman said his hope is that once Maxwell’s is open, more people will return to the island and start to rebuild.
“Definitely. I mean, nobody wants to move to a place where you can’t buy food, you can’t bank, you can’t get your prescription filled you know. So yeah, it’s going to be a bright thing. People are going to see some shine coming out of all this devastation when they see things are on the move again,” he said.
As for his business, Sawyer said it will operate as before, however on reduced hours and merchandise.
“We just won’t have the variety. We won’t have ten brands of ketchup, just two or three. And then once the tenants that are in here to get their businesses and move back out and we get our space back we’ll start expanding again,” he said.
But ultimately Sawyer said his goal is to see Abaco return to the island it once was.
“The area around my building is fine. We’re sitting on a couple of acres, so my parking lot has been relit. We put lamp poles back up in the parking lot. There’s still a lot of clean up to do, no doubt about it,” he said.
“Well my goal is to get back to normal, to where we were. We were only to assist to get Abaco going again. Our building was pretty much not hurt, we’re blessed with that, and we’re trying to get the necessities and essentials back in there.”
Maxwell’s is partly owned by Super Value owner Rupert Roberts.