Experience in Hospitality, Branson Strategies Helped Grow Cool Brand – Joe Issa

Business guru Joe Issa, says in an interview that the experience gained in running the family chain of all-inclusive resorts and the corporate strategies employed by Sir Richard Branson in growing the Virgin brand have greatly influenced the growth of his Cool Group of companies. The announcement came as Issa, who in 2015 will celebrate 20 years of his Cool business, is interviewed on the success of his corporate strategies and the growth of his Cool brand companies, which have earned him several awards. "My time at the family SuperClubs resorts was a tremendous journey, from knowing nothing about the hospitality business when I started working as a teenager, to running one of the largest chain of hotels in the island. "It is this experience and the corporate strategies employed by Richard Branson in growing the Virgin Group of over 400 companies which gave me the knowledge base to start my own business and make the quantum leap to having over 50 companies today under the Cool brand," says Executive Chairman of Cool Group, Joey Issa. He says, "What we did at the family all-inclusive resorts was to set strict standards for food service, room comfort and checkout, among other areas, and we praised and rewarded our team members when the benchmarks were met," Issa says, citing as an example, when the hotel outscored all others in Jamaica and the Caribbean, in a customer satisfaction survey by US tour operator, Apple Vacations, which was reported in the Saturday October 29 issue of the Jamaica Record. After replicating this successful strategy at the other SuperClubs properties and developing the reputation as a turnaround manager, Issa copped the coveted Young Hotelier of the World award in 1994 at the age of 29 years. "A year later I formed my first company, a petrol station in St. Ann which we named Cool Oasis and that's when the business practices and brand-building strategies of Richard Branson really kicked in," Issa says, as he recalls following the growth of the Virgin Group and emulating some of the business processes and corporate strategies which he employed. Issa says, "Like Branson did with Virgin Records, selling an attitude and a lifestyle, Cool Oasis sold a way of life and introduced novel standards for service delivery to enhance brand loyalty. As a result Cool Oasis became the catalyst for the formation of several other 'Cool' companies in the new millennium, by engaging in an array of business activities through its subsidiaries and affiliates. In 2001, Cool Automotive Distributors was established to deliver motor oil and lubricants to gas stations, auto stores, companies with fleet vehicles and those involved in trucking. Today, it is one of the leading retailers of automobile-related lubricants and selected accessories in Jamaica. The distribution business has grown to include basic household products such as toilet paper and soap. By 2002, Issa had formed Cool Card to distribute telephone cards in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. It became the #1 non-exclusive Top-Up Distributor in Jamaica, according to the North Coast Times March 28-April 3, 2003. In 2003, through Cool Biz, which has a network of over 3,000 small businesses engaged in selling phone cards, soap, toilet paper and other household products, Issa introduced 'EZ Card', an innovative, electronic top-up of telephone credit operated by the Cool Biz customers, says the Financial Gleaner, January 17, 2003. In 2005, Issa started Cool Petroleum, which became the licensed user of Shell brands in Jamaica. The company was the exclusive distributor of Shell bulk fuels, Shell chemicals and Shell lubricants, and the largest fuel retailer by volume, operating an extensive network of more than 50 Shell service stations, it was reported in the Business Observer Wednesday November 23, 2005 and Wednesday Gleaner May 10, 2006. In April 2006, he started Cool Cash loans for micro businesses. After this came Cool Gear, Cool Beach and Cool Tours, among the many other companies which, at one point or another were part of Cool Group. "Our group is now one of the largest indigenous petroleum suppliers in Jamaica, accounting for a substantial percentage of the retail station market. We also have a publications division, fisheries division, a distribution division and an e-retail division among our many varied business interests," Issa informs. References Business Observer, 2005. Shell name and workers to remain. The Business Observer, 23 November . Anon., 2003. Joey showcasing entrepreneurship – Cool Card investment of $125M. North Coast Times , March 28 - April 3. Business Observer, 2005. Growth of Cool. Business Observer, 23 November. The Gleaner, 2003. Cool Card Centre introduces the 'EZ Card. Financial Gleaner, 17 January. The Gleaner, 2005. 7. Growth of Cool; Cool Oasis is now one of the largest petroleum retailers in Jamaica. The Gleaner, 14 October. The Gleaner, 2006. Neal & Massy Splits Shell with Joey. The Gleaner, 10 May.
Sourcehttp://www.digitaljournal.com , 18th July, 2014
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