Amongst its many milestones Excellent Stores Ltd has yet another to celebrate on its 60th anniversary, which was held at its MovieTowne branch yesterday. On September 22, 2018, for the first time the ‘Trini-rooted’ business will open in Rodney Bay, St Lucia. The plan is to sequentially open in other islands in the region, including Guyana and Jamaica, Managaing Director and Chairman Franco Siu Chong disclosed at yesterday’s celebrations. “It is the first step we have taken on our journey towards becoming a regional store, rooted in T&T and yet still growing to serve the people of the Caribbean,” said Siu Chong. Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon, who spoke at the anniversary celebrations, said the retail industry plays a critical role in creating revenue and economic opportunities for domestic firms and employment. She said in T&T there are over 8,000 retail establishments contributing approximately ten per cent of the country’s GDP, and, together with the wholesale industry, employing approximately 18 per cent of the total workforce. Also present was Deputy Mayor of Port-of-Spain Hillan Morean who brought greetings on behalf of Mayor Joel Martinez. Morean said the 60th anniversary was an“excellent” achievement and lauded the company for being one of the more honest businesses. A leading department store in T&T, Excellent Stores, which began as a small variety store on Henry Street in Port-of-Spain, then called Excellent Trading, was the contrivance of Chinese immigrant and patriarch, Hong Ling Siu Chong. It has grown to six retail branches spread across the country, which included the recently added Arima branch in November 2017. Now in the hands of a third generation of the Siu Chongs, the business boasts of its niches—specialised Christmas and E-commerce stores at its distribution centre in Chaguanas. During his speech, Siu Chong said the company prided itself on three things—quality, affordability, and customer satisfaction. “We believe in the principles of honesty, integrity, hard work, and delivering to our customers value for money,” said Sui Chong. “Excellent Stores treat all members of staff as family, and it is this cohesive family that is the path to our successes and has allowed us to weather some turbulent times in country’s history.” In its 60 years of existence Excellent Stores survived the 1985 fires at its Park and Frederick streets, Port-of-Spain branch and its London Street, San Fernando branch. The brand remained standing through the 1970 Black Power uprising, 1990 attempted coup, the 1985 economic downturn of 1983 and most recently, the 6.9 earthquake. “We were shaken at times, but never were we broken,” said Siu Chong.