NY-Based Caribbean Food Retailer Turns 14, Offers Free Shipping to US Troops
Sam's Caribbean Marketplace celebrates 14 years as a New York-based Caribbean food retailer by launching 14 days of free shipping to members of the United States Armed Forces. The offer kicks off at the start of the Christmas shopping season on Black Friday, November 23, and extends through Friday December 7, 2007.
"When we examined the customer data for www.sams24-7.com, our online Caribbean store, we discovered that nearly twenty percent of our patrons were US military personnel," says Andrew Morris, President and CEO of Sam's Caribbean Marketplace. Mr. Morris pointed out that over 68,000 foreign-born men and women serve in the US armed forces, of which 40 percent are from the Caribbean and Latin America. "Cognizant of those facts, we committed ourselves to doing something special for our troops as part of our anniversary celebration, in time for the Christmas shopping season."
It's really quite simple: Any member of the US military and anyone purchasing for a family member or a friend who is in the military qualifies for this generous offer. We only require a shipping address that is obviously a military base, an APO, an FPO and so on.
Janice Julian, Customer Service Manager for www.sams247.com and Sam's Caribbean Marketplace, says the offer is open to all US military personnel and their loved ones who ship to them. "It's really quite simple: Any member of the US military and anyone purchasing for a family member or a friend who is in the military qualifies for this generous offer. We only require a shipping address that is obviously a military base, an APO, an FPO and so on." Ms. Julian says customers have three options to place their orders: "The most convenient is to call our toll-free order line at 1-877-U-GO-SAMS (1-877-846-7267). For the more computer savvy, visit our virtual Caribbean store at www.sams24-7.com. Finally, customers in New York City and Long Island can hop over to our retail store located in the parking lot behind 43 Main Street, Hempstead, New York.
"I should also point out," says Ms. Julian, "military customers who shop online will notice a shipping charge on the checkout page. However, we do not charge anyone's credit card online; we charge only when we ship. So we will make sure that those apparent charges are not passed on to any military shipments during the fourteen-day period."
Andrew Morris, a native of Jamaica, founded Sam's Caribbean Marketplace in 1993 after two exhaustive years of research and planning, and another two years minting an MBA from Columbia University. Although he had no prior experience in retail, he crafted a business plan and braced himself for the challenge. "Because of my preparation, I felt quite confident and excited, but not everyone shared my exuberance. I remember showing my business plan to a SCORE councilor. He struck an X through almost every page and said bluntly, 'Don't you see that this is garbage? There's no market for this Caribbean stuff! This will never work. Go find yourself something else to do.' As I left the building I muttered, 'This guy just doesn't understand. He really doesn't get it.'"
Over 1.4 million customers later, Sam's Caribbean Marketplace currently markets about 2,000 Caribbean products through its single 1,578 square-foot retail location and its ecommerce website. According to Mr. Morris, "Many of our Caribbean products appeal to consumers who have never even been to the Caribbean. Our two top-selling products, our Jamaican Beef Patties (http://www.sams247.com/Patties-howto.aspx) and our Jamaican Black Castor Oil (http://www.sams247.com/jamaican-black-castor-oil.aspx), for example, have great mass appeal.
"We pride ourselves on being the Jamaican patty king of Long Island and of the web because we offer over a dozen varieties of Jamaican-style patties. Both Caribbean and non-Caribbean nationals love our Jamaican patties for their low prices, hearty flavors and versatility. You can eat patties on the run or on a plate, and they come spicy or mild and with a range of fillings such as beef, curried or jerk chicken, vegetable, shrimp and soy. We even carry three flavors of miniature Jamaican *censored*tail patties, which are perfect for parties and get-togethers."
The 47-year-old entrepreneur says that Sam's Tropic Isle brand Jamaican Black Castor Oil is almost as popular as the Jamaican beef patties, but for obviously different reasons. "Our unrefined Jamaican Black Castor Oil, or JBCO as some aficionados call it, is perhaps the purest form of Castor oil available: it's salt-free and contains no other additives. Hair enthusiasts around the world sing its praises on internet forums such as Black Hair Media Forums and Long Hair Care Forums (http://www.longhaircareforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116889). Our castor oil is produced in small quantities by a few elderly Jamaican women who rigorously adhere to an ancient Maroon formula. The oil has a variety of curative properties, but it's best known for thickening the hair and expelling wastes and toxins from the skin."
Besides patties and oils, Sam's Caribbean Marketplace sells hard-to-find herbs and spices, dangerously hot Scotch Bonnet pepper sauces, a multitude of authentic jerk seasonings and sauces, breads and spice buns, exotic teas and Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, black fruit cakes laced with over-proof white rum, herbal remedies, jams and jellies, gift baskets, black dolls dressed in brightly-colored Caribbean flags, and Calypso and Reggae CDs and DVDs (http://www.sams247.com/foods2/02Foods_Caribbean_Products.aspx). The majority of Caribbean products marketed by Sam's Caribbean Marketplace are manufactured in Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
For more information on Sam's Caribbean Marketplace, its fourteenth anniversary celebration or its free-shipping offer to the US military, contact Andrew Morris.
Andrew Morris, President & CEO
Sam's Caribbean Marketplace, Inc.
516-481-6602 ext. 101
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