Foster’s Food Fair at the Strand on West Bay Road reopened this morning in another milestone of Cayman’s recovery from Hurricane Ivan.
The Governor, Bruce Dinwiddy, and his wife Emma were on hand to preside over the ceremonial ribbon-cutting just after 9am.
‘This is one step closer to normality for us,’ said managing director Woody Foster. ‘Our managers and staff have been working like crazy to get this store reopened. Seeing it opened is a huge accomplishment.’
The Strand sustained severe storm surge damage and was the last of Foster’s three stores to complete repairs after Ivan.
Mr. Foster said he had hoped to reopen the Strand by the end of January.
‘We had the same crew working on all three stores, and it was just physically impossible to do all three stores at once,’ he said.
Foster’s Republix store in West Bay reopened during the week after the storm, as did a temporary store at the Airport location. It stayed open while repairs were made to the air conditioning and the refrigeration systems.
The main Airport store was repaired and reopened 14 December.
The Strand repairs were the most difficult because the storm surge waters were contaminated with sewage. A special group from Atlanta was brought in to make sure the clean-up was done properly.
‘We knew we had an issue with the sewage,’ said Mr. Foster. ‘We dealt with it, and we’re proud of it.’
Mr. Foster said everything in the Strand store is new except for what was in the upstairs office.
Marketing supervisor Maria Tom-Pack said there are some changes to the Strand, especially in the rotunda area at the front of the store.
‘There are food stations in front where you can get custom-made pasta dishes and omelettes, and also a bagel station,’ she said
One addition that was not ready for the reopening is the eating area upstairs.
‘Everything is ready except the stairs didn’t arrive,’ said Mr. Foster.
Mrs. Tom-Pack said the area will be a nice addition to the store. ‘You’ll be able to eat, drink your coffee and read the newspaper right upstairs,’ she said.
Other changes include an expanded salad bar and a few more cash registers to improve customer service, Mrs. Tom-Pack said.
The Strand’s décor is very similar to the new motif of the Airport store except the accent colour is teal rather than blue.
‘We also have local photography by David Wolfe and Courtney Platt hanging on the walls,’ she said.
The other major change at the Strand will be Sunday hours.
‘We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from a customer standpoint,’ said Mr. Foster about being open on Sundays.
Mrs. Tom-Pack said there are two types of shoppers coming in on Sunday.
‘There are those who just want to come in and pick up a few things, but there are others who say they prefer to do their regular shopping on Sundays because that is when they have the time to do it,’ she said.
All three Foster’s locations will be open from 10 am until 3 pm on Sundays.
‘The pharmacies will be open on Sundays as well,’ said Mrs. Tom-Pack.