The supermarket known as Hurley’s
started on the tarmac of Owen Roberts Airport.
Hurley Merren started work with
Lacsa Airlines in 1966 as a licensed aircraft mechanic. As friend Anthony Eden
narrates, the opportunity presented itself for him to become involved, on a
part-time basis, with the importation of small shipments of fresh fruits and
vegetables from Costa Rica, Lacsa’s home base. He would receive the produce
weekly and distribute it to customers from the tarmac.
The little import business grew to
include meats and other supplies from Miami. In 1972, Hurley resigned from the
airline to work full time with what had become Cayman Imports, a wholesale
business. He then opened Hurley’s Meat Market.
Expansion became necessary and in
1986 Hurley’s Supermarket was opened in the Eden Centre complex on Walkers Road
with a full range of fresh meats and produce. He bought Will and Sybil
Jackson’s store in East End to turn it into Little Hurley’s.
Hurley’s Marketplace in Grand
Harbour was his next dream; he died in June 1997 at age 54 before the store was
completed. His wife Leonie and their children carried on with the help of their
first employee, Eddie Ebanks. Hurricane Ivan in 2004 destroyed the stores at
Eden Centre and East End, but Hurley’s at Grand Harbour continued to serve the
Hurley’s Group also includes Radio
Station Z99.9FM, the first commercial station in the Cayman Islands. It began
operations in 1992, giving listeners a choice between its format and that of government-owned
Radio Cayman, which had been on the air since 1976. Rooster 101 followed.
Today Miss Leonie continues as
Hurley’s Group CEO, with her children active in the various businesses. Randy
is general manager of the supermarket and Hurley’s Entertainment. Bryce is in
charge of Beacon Trucking and Compa Fuels. Sharleen is general manager for
Cayman Imports, while Shanna takes care of all the foreign payables.