Mark Roberts is a risk taker who has survived two plane crashes and an adventure trip to the North Pole in April 2015, but he hedges his bets in business by operating a diversified $20 million enterprise.
Roberts operates the Builders Mall in Nassau, the Bahamas, a 130,000-square-foot building that comprises three home products businesses as anchors: FYP (Fix Your Place), Tile King and Paint Centre.
Roberts has been buying from House-Hasson about a dozen years. His adventure in retailing all started with a trip to a trade show in Orlando in 2004. He and his wife, Louise, were exploring business options and kitchen and bath design was the hot topic, he recalls. By October they had opened Tile King, which proved very successful.
He ended up getting into the lumber business by accident in late 2004 when plywood they had purchased to build a house for a client turned into much-needed hurricane supplies. Then came The Paint Centre, when Roberts realized he needed a paint store to complement the lumber and flooring he was selling.
FYP has grown massively through the years, according to Roberts, who credits House-Hasson for helping him understand the retail business. Louise has helped improve the showroom look with greater attention to merchandising.
FYP Enterprises also manufactures and sells concrete block on site, with steel framing and other ancillary businesses complementing the three retail businesses.
House-Hasson did the initial store set to make FYP look nice and customer friendly, recalls Roberts. The paint department was
set up with Valspar paint as an anchor.
“House-Hasson put everything together with an assortment plan. We did tweaks here and there. Since then, some departments have grown and some have shrunk,” he says. “I can’t say enough good things about House-Hasson.”
“George Breedon is a great sales rep for us. He physically comes to the store one to three times a year, but someone on the staff speaks to him just about every week,” says Roberts. “He’s very accommodating and very available. We’ve learned to rely on him more.”
About 85-90 percent of FYP’s products come from the U.S. “If we place an order from House-Hasson on Monday, let’s say 10 pallets of merchandise—it will arrive at our freight forwarder in Florida in three to four days, “Roberts points out. “Then if we have at least half a container, it might make it here by the next Tuesday, so within eight days plus one to two days to go through customs. Sometimes it takes three weeks for a delivery to arrive if we’re waiting to fill a container.”
FYP saw sales jump 60 percent when Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016. Nassau’s damage was maybe 5 on a 1-10 scale, according to Roberts, but islands such as Freeport were hit much harder. “We assisted relief organizations with aid supplies. I was actually talking on the phone with George during the hurricane—he was awesome. House-Hasson sent a truckload of generators and other supplies and it got here right away,” he said.