Bashco Trading Company Inc.
Since 1989, Bashco Trading Company Inc. has been known as “The Store That Gives You More,” with headquarters in downtown Kingston, Jamaica. Now with 12 locations, the privately owned company has established itself as one of Jamaica’s top retailers for household goods, haberdashery, clothing, electronics, appliances, furniture and more recently, a range of grocery items.
“Bashco was started in 1989 at 28 Orange Street, selling primarily wholesale goods,” recounts Gassan Azan Jr., CEO of Bashco. “In the beginning, there were several traveling salesmen selling mostly household haberdashery across the country. The business took off very quickly. Within a year, Bashco opened its second outlet at Princess Street.”
Serving all corners of Jamaica
As the demand shifted from wholesale to retail driven, the decision was made to expand the Bashco network of stores across the island. Over the course of 26 years, Bashco has made its way into nearly every corner of Jamaica. “We’ve gone wherever there is a commercially viable market,” says Azan.
Today, Bashco employs more than 1,000 people and has three locations in Kingston as well as Sav-la-Mar, Mandeville, Ocho Rios, May Pen, Santa Cruz, Linstead and two in the island’s second-largest city, Montego Bay.
“As the stores expanded, additional lines were added, such as furniture and appliances,” says Azan. “Today, the product offering includes a wide range of household products, haberdashery, clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics and more.”
The store that gives customers more
Bashco’s motto is “The Store That Gives You More” and the company has made a mission out of being in the right place and selling the right items for a fair price. “We do not just sit aloof away from our market,” explains Azan of Bashco’s business philosophy. “We have ‘boots on the ground’ and get involved. That mantra, along with our strong marketing presence in all media, has set us apart from island competitors.”
Bashco currently imports most of its merchandise from other manufacturers. “In some instances, we contract the manufacturer to produce under our own brand and specifications,” explains Azan. “We target these items as the best possible value for our market, making the Bashco name even more known for outstanding value.”
Expanding to a broader customer base
Originally, as a wholesale reseller of goods, Azan says Bashco’s target market was usually on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum. “But, over the course of our 26 steady years in business, and most noticeably in the last 10 years, our niche has broadened to include low- to middle-income homes all across Jamaica, as well as other wholesalers, retailers, hoteliers and restaurants and caterers,” he says.
In 2014, after making its name known in the home good market for decades, Bashco opened its first massive superstore in Spanish Town, St. Catherine. “For the first time, Bashco shoppers were able to purchase food items along with all the other Bashco merchandise they are accustomed to,” says Azan. “This venture was a huge success in Bashco’s history. Within three months of opening, the Spanish Town Store was able to equal and even surpass the annual sales of other stores within the group.”
This venture led Azan and the Bashco team to launch the newest branch of Bashco, a convenience store concept called WOW By Bashco. This corner store sells various food and non-food items in a mini-grocery store environment. “WOW also sells hot lunches and has become a favorite spot for professionals in downtown Kingston on their lunch hours,” says Azan. “We expect to replicate the WOW concept in a few months in further locations.”
Smart business decisions for a sustainable future
Bashco has been able to grow its successful business model in multiple ways, even amid economic challenges. “Over the last five years, the world economy suffered a recession, and Jamaica — although indeed an island - is not immune to such forces,” explains Azan. “We felt a severe downturn in customer transactions at all of our locations. We powered through this, by focusing heavily on our marketing efforts, bringing the average basket value up, as well as being very careful in the sourcing of our merchandise to maximize profit margin, while maintaining accessible low costs to our market.”
Despite recent challenges, the WOW By Bashco concept has been a huge success and Azan says the company always has its feelers out for new opportunities, especially in rural areas. “We expect to remain where we are as industry leaders and are aware that we are going to have to continue our slow but steady rate of growth,” says Azan.
Bashco continues its mission of being the store that gives customer more. “We are committed to continuing to be 'The Store That Gives You More' for the indefinite foreseeable future,” adds Azan.
For the last 26 years and counting, Bashco Trading Company Inc. has served island customers and brought quality jobs to fuel a healthy economy in Jamaica.