Jamaica Standard Products Limited, JSP, is venturing into what General Manager John Minott says is its first full-blown café, to be called Island Blue Coffee House, a brand to be tested initially in the coffee company’s home parish of Manchester.
Island Blue is scheduled to open sometime between year end and January at Sovereign Plaza, a new commercial complex that is under development in the Caledonia area of Mandeville. The investment in the first shop is “north of $25 million,” said Minott.
The new operation will expand the coffee-processing company’s retail footprint.
JSP already has four retail coffee outlets – one at the Sangster Airport and three others at cruise terminals in Montego Bay, Falmouth, and Ocho Rios – but they, basically, function as drinking and tasting stations, he said.
“These are called Coffee and Spice and are under a different brand,” he added.
Island Blue Coffee House, however, will offer hot and cold beverages, coffee and non-coffee; as well as light meals.
“If the concept works, which we expect it to do, we will roll out in all major towns in the island. The café concept has become very popular in Jamaica, and we only expect it to continue growing.”
In recent times, a number of café chains have emerged in Jamaica, the largest of them being Starbucks Jamaica, a franchise operated by business partners Ian Dear and Adam Stewart through different companies under their control. Other coffee houses include Café Blue, Cannonball, and Rituals, while JSP itself is also partners with Fromage in a chain called Café Dulce with three locations in Kingston, but only as a supplier of products.
Island Blue Coffee House will be its first full-blown company-owned café operation, Minott said.
“Island Blue has been the brand name of our coffee for a decade. We are using a name we already have,” he told the Financial Gleaner.
The brand was formerly known as Wallenford Blue, but its image was recast to Island Blue at a cost of $20 million in 2017, previous reports show.
Island Blue Café will be JSP’s first 100 per cent offering for locals, said Minott, explaining that the company’s other retail points were 90 per cent patronised by foreign customers.
“We will be going the whole nine yards with décor, light foods, and coffee and non-coffee beverages as well,” said Minott.
“Mandeville is our backyard. Our factory is in Williamsfield. For us it is a more logical location, and with a new highway, we expect further growth. Mandeville has no full café. [Island Blue Coffee House is for locals,” he added.
The Island Blue brand was unveiled on April 1, 2017, then targeted at the company’s overseas markets, including high-end speciality stores for distribution.
Jamaica Standard Products was founded by family head Leslie Minott in 1942 and passed on to his son, Jackie Minott, in 1972.
The company operates over 350 acres of coffee in both the Blue Mountains and high mountain ranges in Jamaica. Its coffee is supplied to markets in Canada, United States, China, the United Kingdom, and the Caribbean.