As mild as the winters have become, Canadian Russell Sager is doing something many Northern retailers dream of this time of year: starting a CE business in the Cayman Islands. “I got sick and tired of winter and decided I have the skills, I can work elsewhere, let’s try this before I never get the chance to do it!” says Sager, 48, whose strategy is to start a new, low-voltage division of an existing electrical and plumbing company, Androgroup Ltd.
Grand Cayman is a particularly good market at the moment, says Sager, because a slew of new construction is replacing the many buildings wiped out by hurricane Ivan in 2004. Grand Cayman, a British territory, has a development ordinance limiting all new condos or hotels to only seven stories. Still, Sager says investors pouring assets into those low-rises are looking for advanced automation and home entertainment products.
Sager spent part of the autumn back in the states, attending an integrator’s training program run by Vantage Controls. “We have a lot of middle-income homes,” he explains. “I thought the Vantage controller would do that market. It’s quite flexible that way.” Sager hopes the islanders’ desire for eclectic exteriors (buildings are typically painted in bright corals, pinks, and blues) will expand into a thirst for tricked-out interiors as well. “My goal is to have [installed high-end CE products] in three condo complexes in 2007, and I’m about to turn our company’s boardroom into a showroom. My hurdle will be getting people caught up with new options. But I think we can do it. It’s beautiful here. It reminds me of a small Hawaii.”