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Date: 29 Jun, 2009
Source: Barbados Advocate Business Monday by Randy Howard

The handing over of the Newton Business Park complex to the sales and marketing division of the Canadian-based apparel manufacturer, Gildan Activewear Incorporated, should see an expansion of the company’s operations here, and therefore the creation of jobs for Barbadians.

Speaking to the media after the official handing over ceremony last Monday, President of Gildan Activewear SRL, Michael Hoffman, said that the new complex should mean more employment and more growth for the company.

“Our building at Warrens is at capacity, and as we continue to grow around the world our international businesses, particularly in Asia, Europe, North America, we need more people, so it’s going to create more jobs, and now we have the room to expand and grow.”

Gildan Activewear is a vertically-integrated marketer and manufacturer of quality branded, classic apparel, and is the leading supplier of activewear for the screenprint channel in the US and Canada, with the latter being the location of the company’s head office and legal functions, while the centre of manufacturing is located in Honduras.

“This [Barbados] is the centre of universe when it comes to sales and marketing. All of the sales and marketing functions are here; everything originates from here that’s sales and marketing related.

“Whether you’re calling from China, Japan, Europe, or North America, you’re calling here, or you’re e-mailing here,” Hoffman said

Having been in operation on the island since 1999, Hoffman was asked “why Barbados?” to which he responded by asking “why not Barbados?”

“We like it, the people here are extremely well-educated, they have a good understanding for business, it’s a very warm place to do business, and the Government has been very co-operative and very helpful, and it’s been a great experience for us as a company.”

According to Director of Human Resources, Esther Walkes, the company has not set a definitive date for the relocation of operations to the Newton site, however, she indicated that this could possibly be by the end of the year, or early in 2010.