After 30 years of selling wholesale goods to other businesses and the community, Dolphin Wholesale Store in San Jose is shutting down permanently. The announcement was revealed on Facebook by customers last Thursday who took photos of the closing sale sign. This came as a surprise to all and left the community asking the question ‘why?’
Dolphin Wholesale general manager Ricardo Castro said due to the poor economy last year, sales dropped but the straw that broke the camel’s back is the pandemic. “Nobody knows how long the pandemic will last and management cannot survive under the current circumstances that is why the decision to close the store was imminent,” he said.
“Since last year, we were already having a hard time because the local economy was down. Now with the pandemic, it will be harder maintain and catch up,” he added.
Dolphin Wholesale is currently offering 15% to 30% off for all items in the store as part of their closing sale and sure enough, people flocked the isles with their carts and baskets on Friday.
“The sale will go on as long as we have goods in the store… Personally, I am sad because the reason for closing the store is a situation that we do not have control over but when we see our regular customers and hear their heartfelt messages, I am grateful that until the end they are here to support us,” Castro said.
Marita Bautista, of Chalan Kanoa, said that when she heard that Dolphin Wholesale was closing she felt a pinch in her chest, like a family member is going away. “Over the years, I go to Dolphin Wholesale for anything that I need for my car, house, and garden. When my family and I have a day for shopping, we go to different stores and Dolphin Wholesale is one those stores every time.”
“Now that they are closing and having the sale, I feel like I should go buy something to show them my support and thanks,” she added.
Castro and seven other employees will be out of work when they finally close shop. “I started working here in 1993, the rest have worked for over 10 years and one is still here ever since Dolphin Wholesale opened 30 years ago. There are plans to sell the business to an interested buyer and we heard talks that all Dolphin Wholesale, because of [their] expertise and experience, will be absorbed by the possible new management which gives us hope.”
“Negotiations include future plans to retain the current business model to sell wholesale, do a little bit of renovation to add more items, and a possible grocery…We heard that the buyers want to start as soon as possible… with the pandemic and hard times, my colleagues and I are also looking forward to this new beginning,” he said.
In the mainland, 41% of retail businesses are hit the hardest due to the pandemic as retail sales went down by 16.4% from March to April. The business landscape is changing rapidly worldwide as more businesses close shop. Dolphin Wholesale’s closure due to the pandemic after 30 years of being a part of the community is a telling sign that the CNMI is not immune.
MD: After 30 years of selling wholesale goods to other businesses and the community, Dolphin Wholesale Store in San Jose is shutting down permanently.
KW: Dolphin Wholesale Store, Ricardo Castro, retail. COVID-19 pandemic.