Lakespen St. Catherine Jamaica
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Our History

As the Wisynco Group Limited celebrates 50 years of business and service to the Jamaican people, we take a look at how it all began and how the company earned its title “The Innovators”.

1921

Saleem Mahfood arrived in Jamaica, following in the footsteps of other ambitious young men who had left their homeland in search of a better life.

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1935

Saleem Mahfood was married to Evelyn Shammas in Lebanon, following which on his return to Jamaica he opened his own wholesale haberdashery at 132 Harbour Street in downtown Kingston. He named it Mahfood’s Commercial Limited. The store distributed goods to retailers — footwear, including the once popular BATA sneakers, Cebo water boots; along with yard goods, and a range of haberdashery items.

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1962

The year Saleem Mahfood died he left behind a distribution company which had sold £200,000 worth of merchandise that year. However, his greatest legacy to the future of his business was his four sons — Ferdinand, Sam (Jnr.), Joe and Robin. Each of the “Boys” already had some involvement in the family business when their father passed away, and they wasted no time in expanding the business.

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1964

The brothers formed West Indies Synthetics Company Ltd {WISYNCO}. Wisynco borrowed £150,000 from Barclays Bank to build and equip a 6,000-square-foot factory at Twickenham Park in St. Catherine. The land came at a concessionary rate — an entitlement under the Industrial Incentive Scheme.

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1965

Was the official birth of Wisynco.   The new plant started production and manufactured 60 pairs of boots per hour. Soon farmers, casual labourers, factory workers, and anyone needing protection from the elements would be sporting Jamaican-made Iron Man water boots. Initially Wisynco introduced a double-shift system to keep up with growing demand, and when that still was not enough, expanded to three shifts. This was done by David Kerr and Joe Mahfood working 12 hour shifts to manage the three eight hour shifts. Andrew and William Mahfood were born.

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1966

Wisynco started exporting Iron Man water boots to Trinidad and Barbados.

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1968

Wisynco expanded production with its second line, “Mr. Robin” plastic shoes and boots for children. Factory space increased to 12,000 square feet by the middle of the 1960s, and by the end of that decade to 20,000 square feet.

1971

Wisynco exchanged (swapped) out its equipment with a Haitian producer of men’s shoes, and started producing Gator Shoes, a full range of men’s and children sneakers, casual and dress shoes . The Gator brand of footwear was the most popular products that rolled off its production line. Growth continued even during the 1970s when several other investors pulled out of Jamaica because of their disagreement with the policies of the then Administration. In fact, by the end of that decade, Wisynco required 60,000 square feet of production/warehouse space in order to supply the Jamaican market with its expanding range of products.

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1973

Wisynco started production of cups and containers, in the old offices at West Indies Synthetics, Twickenham Park being brought into use as the thermoforming hall.

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1985

Wisynco started distributing beverages such as Carib Beer and Shandy, Cole-Cold and Chubby from Trinidadian manufacturers.

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1991

Wisynco started its Fisheries Division. The company produced 1.2 million pounds per year using a Russian trawler and divers from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

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1995

Wisynco starts distributing Ocean Spray cranberry juices.

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1996

Wisynco discontinues their distribution of Carib Shandy, Cole-Cold and Chubby from Trinidad. The company borrowed US$3 million and set up a 10,000 square-foot carbonated soft drink manufacturing plant. BIGGA Soft Drink was born.

1997

After conch was listed as an endangered species, a production quota of 1.2 million pounds per year was established for the island, with Wisynco allowed to produce a mere 300,000 pounds or a quarter of its normal output. This was the beginning of the end and the Fisheries division was closed in 1997.

2000

Wisynco introduced its own brand of purified artesian well water to the Jamaican market. In keeping with Jamaican “Culcha” they named it WATA.

2006

Wisynco began distributing Coca-Cola products on a non-exclusive basis. Wisynco Group Limited formed as a result of the amalgamation of the three companies – West Indies Synthetics Limited, Wisynco Trading Limited, and Jamaica Drink Company Limited.

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2008

Wisynco collaborated with Ocean Spray to introduce the innovative Ocean Spray Cranberry flavoured WATA.

2009

Partner Foods Limited and Wendico Jamaica Limited merged to form one company – Wisynco Foods Limited. Wisynco Foods represents the brands Wendy’s, Domino’s and Haagen Dazs.

2010

Wisynco began to manufacture and distribute the first locally produced energy drink BOOM. In March of that year, the company announced it will be the exclusive distributor of the world’s leading energy drink Red Bull. By December, Wisynco announced that they would be the exclusive bottlers and distributors for the Coca Cola products.

2012

Wisynco ended a 17 year relationship with Ocean Spray cranberry juices.

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2013

Joseph Mahfood retired as Chairman, and Andrew Mahfood was appointed CEO ~ William Mahfood was appointed the new Chairman.

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2014

Wisynco purchases a fifty percent share in United Estates Ltd & Trade Winds Citrus Ltd.

2015

The Wisynco Group celebrates 50 years of existence.