Dart Group buys five Big Daddy’s

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Big Daddy’s Liquor, a Cayman landmark for 28 years, has been sold to Cayman Distributors Group, a division of the Dart Group, for an undisclosed amount.

In an exclusive interview with the Caymanian Compass, Matt Bishop, general manager for Cayman Distributors, said, “We have been negotiating for several months with Big Daddy’s owner Cleveland Dilbert and on Saturday, 9 October the deal was closed.”

Without revealing the price for the five Big Daddy liquor stores, he added that “The deal was attractive for all parties and everyone has walked away winners.”

The name chain of stores will keep the name Big Daddy’s, and all employees have been retained, according to Cayman Distributor Group officials.

Big Daddy’s was an all-Caymanian, family-owned business that had been serving the Cayman Islands since 1982, when the first store opened at the Seven Mile shops on West Bay Road.

“I am proud to say that, today, after all the years of dedication as a family, working together to build such a brand, we can – as a family – enjoy the fruits of our labour,” said Cleveland Dilbert, who established the business. He added that he was ready to retire. “At 66 years of age, as a father and as a Caymanian, there is nothing more that I can ask for in life than to see my family in a comfortable and secure position, especially in these troubled times.”

Cleveland Dilbert’s son Damien has been asked by Cayman Distributors to stay on as retail manager in order to further improve the high standards Big Daddy’s developed over the years.

“I was flattered and honoured that the CDG team expressed their interest in having me stay on to assist with the continuity of the business and to help them to inherit the winning attributes we have applied to our business that we have applied over the years,” he said.

Mr. Bishop said, “Big Daddy’s have always had a relationship with locals and have come to be known for their customer service, assortment and high value. These are the values that we want to maintain, so much so that our only focus right now is continuity of the business and not changing the model that has served the people of the Cayman Islands so well for so long.”

In addition to Cayman Distributors and Big Daddy’s, Dart Management also owns Blackbeard’s Rum Company. Mr. Bishop added that there is still plenty of competition.

“The liquor business is still very competitive and with Tortuga, Reflections, Jacques Scott, as well as several mom-and-pop operations, the market is vibrant and still gives the consumer a vast array of choice.”

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Matt Bishop, general manager for Cayman Distributors, left, and Damien Dilbert, who will stay on as retail manager for the new company. – PHOTO: STUART WILSON

7 COMMENTS

  1. "The deal was attractive for all parties and everyone has walked away winners"
    Hmmm…interesting to see if the consumers will be winners as Blackbeards takes down their biggest competitor! Jacque Scott next?!

  2. If you’re a business owner and somebody comes along after you’ve worked hard for almost twenty years… and says "Hi, I’d like to buy your business and I am willing to offer ten years of profits in advance and make sure that all your employees are taken care of".

    Me thinks you might have a hard time saying NO.

    I think it was noble of BigD’s to insist that all their employees were retained and clearly the deal was friendly as Damien is staying on with the new ownership.

    Many of Cayman Distributors people are local, many of BigD’s people are local… if this had not been in the paper… nobody would ever know the place changed hands and … life would go on.

  3. Hi Everyone,

    Obviously for editorial reasons the Compass could not put our entire press release from our (The Dilbert’s) family. From a personal stand point, as a family, we would like to say that this is a good thing and should be celebrated.

    Please find below our official statement. On behalf of our family, we hope that you will all help to keep the legacy we fought for and ultimately succeeded as a family to obtain, as the unrivaled #1 brand in our category, for so many years.

    —-
    On Behalf of Cleveland Dilbert:
    28 years ago, Big Daddys was a small single liquor store stocking the basics in beer wine and spirits located in seven mile shops. I used my life savings, at the time, and invested in this little store, where I worked everyday, to support my growing family.

    As time passed, my two eldest boys, Damien and Nelson worked part time, between school holidays and occasionally after school. Later, as they became of age, they began their careers in the family business at a young age. Together, as a family, we worked to build, nurture, and mold Big Daddy’s to what can be said today is, one of the most successful, 100% Caymanian owned businesses in the history of the Cayman Islands. From simple beginnings, Big Daddy’s now boasts five stores, all of which has operated at the highest standards of quality and integrity. Later my youngest sons, Timothy and Alex, also became involved with the business and played there respective part in the growth and maintenance of the family business.

    I am proud to say that, today, after all the years of dedication, as a family, working together to build such a brand, we can, as a family, enjoy the fruits of our labour. At 66 years of age, as a father and as a Caymanian, there is nothing more than I can ask for in life, than to see my family in a "comfortable" and secure position, especially in these troubled times. To also know that they have earned their passage, also makes me very proud.

    Damien has been asked to stay onboard by CDL to maintain and further improve the standards we have developed over the years. Nelson will have the time to further develop his two companies, Hammerheads and the locally made Seven Fathoms Rum and Governors Reserve Rum. My son, Timothy is starting his own company in his field, I.T. Finally my youngest son Alex is in the process of finishing his degree and will have a good start in life and whatever he may choose to persue in his career.

    After so many years, the decision to sell the company was not an easy one. But, I must say, I have absolute confidence that the team of CDL, further supported by my son Damien will respectfully continue the legacy and company pride we have built.

    I am very proud of my boys for helping me make this business a tremendous success, i could not have done it without them. Furthermore, I would like to extend my most sincere and heartfelt thanks to the people of the Cayman Islands, be it Expartiates, tourists and what has been the backbone of our business, the Caymanian people, for the support over these many years which helped us maintain our position as #1 in the market, in the country.

    On behalf of myself (and my brothers):
    From the beginnings of talks over the sale of Big Daddy’s, I was flattered and honored that the CDL team expressed their interests of having me stay aboard to assist with the continuity of the business and to help inherit the winning attributes we have applied to our business. Although it has only been a short time since the final sale of the company, I must say that I am absolutely impressed with the level of professionalism, sincerity and dedication they have displayed.

    I have spent the majority of my life working within the company walls of Big Daddys and after so long, one tends to become emotionally attached. To not only work within the vast parameters of the company, but to also love what you do, is a blessing that few people have the privilege of saying. To now be given the opportunity to still be a part of the continued growth of your legacy, irregardless of ownership, is a privilege and an honor. I would like to return this compliment by saying that, with all honesty and confidence, the team at CDL have every intention to continue to serve the people of this island to the very best of there, more than capable, ability. Furthermore, I promise to also give my all in integrity, respect and pride to the further development of the company.

    It is my hope that the people of the Cayman Islands will continue to support the legacy that a family of their own has built over the years. Their will be many exciting things to come for the Big Daddys customers in the coming months, I am looking forward to seeing you all come along for the ride!

    Finally, on behalf of all of my brothers and myself, I would like to thank our father, Cleveland Dilbert. Dad, you have been the pillar of strength to our family, pride is simply not strong enough of a word to express our gratitude to you. You have given all of us an impenetrable foundation of strength, work ethic, business acumen and above all, self respect and respect for others. We have tremendous shoes to fill, but rest assured, we will try, we will do everything we can to continue to make you proud.

  4. Building a business and making it so attractive that some one offer you a profit to have it, is the back-bone of free enterprise. Also, The Dart Group having invested so heavily in Cayman it is fast becoming a national asset. The mention of continued competition in the industry is worth stating, since competition is guarded so sacredly by democracies, governments has strict guidelines in which large companies are regulated when acquiring competing businesses. If the introduction of competition to Telecoms are any example, someone must be watching.

  5. Maybe Jacque Scott will get squeezed out of business but over the years they have squeezed a few people themselves. With that said limits should be placed on how much one man with very deep pockets can control. Might be to late ! That cat is out of the bag !

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