From souvenir shops and car rental agencies to car dealerships and bookstores, Jolley Holding is one of the top service providers in all its areas of business
Companies with a diverse business base often weather financial recessions better than those that rely wholly on one activity. Such is the case of Jolley Holding, which started in Aruba in 1968 as a car dealership, industrial laundry providers, and owner of various souvenir shops and bookstores.
Sudesh Manichand, Managing Director of Jolley Holding since 1999, has been responsible for the group’s considerable expansion: from just six companies, he grew the holding’s portfolio to 25 companies throughout the Caribbean. In turn, he’s increased Jolley Holding’s revenue sevenfold.
Although car and book sales have slipped due to flailing local consumption, Jolley’s tourism-based companies are performing well, as Aruba is still in favor as a vacation destination.
While book sales may never recover, owing to the advent of the electronic reader and online stores, once the economic recession is past, Mr. Manichand is positive car sales will once again pick up, and Jolley Holding will be there to capture customers.
“The potential for automotive sales is limited on an island like this, because if the population doesn’t increase, there are limited opportunities for the overall market to grow.
“Therefore, if you want to increase your presence and market share, most of the time you get it from the competition, so aggressive marketing and exclusive products are key,” says Mr. Manichand.
“During the two most recent crises that Aruba has experienced, we’ve not laid off anyone.”
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Jolley Holding indeed holds exclusive dealership rights to some of the world’s top brands, namely BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan, Kia and Suzuki. This business segment is complemented by Jolley’s Hertz franchise, the largest car rental in Aruba. According to the managing director, Kia is market leader with an impressive 25% market share.
Aruba’s size makes the island ideal for electrical cars, which Mr. Manichand foresees will be a logical step forward in the island’s going-green strategy. “There’s good opportunity here for electrical vehicles in the future because of the short distances that are covered, so there is not really a need for charging points all over the island.
You’d be able to charge your car at home overnight,” he comments. However, as these cars remain expensive and their demand still outstrips supply elsewhere, Jolley’s MD doesn’t expect them to hit the island for at least another three years.
For marketing, Jolley Holding has gone socially cyber. “We are very active on Facebook,” says Gina Heyliger,
Marketing Manager. “We’ve incorporated social media into our marketing strategies and we reveal new products as we go along, as well as new gadgets and linking into communities as we expand into different media. We’re always looking at global trends and follow what catches on in the local markets.”
On a similarly modern line, Jolley Holding values its employees and provides opportunities for advancement within the organization. Moreover, Mr. Manichand says that the group has held on to its workers, despite the recession. “During the two most recent crises that Aruba has experienced, we’ve not laid off anyone. We haven’t downsized any of the companies, even though that would have made sense.”
The group is also supportive of local activities, especially sports, where Jolley can help motivate children through sponsorships and suppor