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Kenneth Loshusan

Kenneth Loshusan

Kenneth Loshusan was born on June 10th, 1940, in Mt. Moriah, St. Ann, Jamaica. Mr. Ken or “Mass Ken,” as he was also affectionately known, was the seventh of nine children. He was born into poverty and learned at a very tender age that there was a very long and rough road ahead of him. These life struggles, particularly the time spent in China, were the catalyst for Ken’s disciplined work ethic, entrepreneurship and dedication to his family.

In the 1940s, as was the custom in those days, he was sent to China as a young child with four of his siblings to live with an aunt, in hopes of having a better life and to learn the Chinese culture. He, his brothers and sister boarded a ship and sailed for 45 days before reaching China. After arriving, Ken felt like a foreigner in a foreign land. Although he had similar features to the people there, there were immediate problems of communication, as he did not speak the local Chinese dialect of Hakka. Instead of getting a formal education, he and his siblings faced immense hardship, harsh winters, hunger and getting caught in the Chinese Civil War. Fleeing China to save their lives, he and his siblings returned to Jamaica in the 1950s. Ken returned to his birthplace but once again felt like a foreigner. Having had to learn Hakka in China, he lost his first language of English and had to relearn it. Now a teenager, still not having any real form of education, he was enrolled into Gaynstead High School. It was there where Mr. Loshusan learned to read and write. He did not stay long; however, as he was later expelled, prompting the beginning of his professional career.

By 1957 Ken and his brothers made their first business decision to partner and purchase Tower Grocery on Molynes Road. In 1960 Mr. Loshusan would meet a woman, Yvonne, who would later become his wife. Her father, Ken’s father in law, offered him the business opportunity of a lifetime and sold him Sovereign Grocery on Barry Street. The business was successful, and in 1969, they moved to a larger store on Orange Street. Ken and his brothers operated Sovereign Grocery for many years, but his ambition had him yearning for more. After a unanimous decision and working for years in the downtown section of Kingston, he and his brothers made the move uptown. In 1989 Sovereign Grocers moved to the Liguanea. It was renamed Sovereign Supermarket and revolutionized the retail and supermarket industries at the time. It was during these years that Ken also kept expanded his family and had four children of his own. Wanting to take his vision to the next level, Ken purchased three retail businesses from the Allied Group in 1997: Master’s Barbican, Lane Liguanea and John R. Wong Supermarket in New Kingston. Because of problems with the landlord, Ken eventually lost the first two stores after investing many years in building back the businesses. According to William Mahfood, CEO of the Wisynco Group, “Ken was not to be stopped by that small setback and he decided that he would never find himself in a position where a landlord would determine his fate. He moved quickly to acquire the Barbican land where the current site of the Loshusan Supermarket and Plaza now sits…” Loshusan Supermarket would go on to be the winners of the Observer Table Talk Awards, “Total Shopping Experience” for five years in a row before his passing in 2011. To this day, it is still a premier shopping destination.

Mr. Ken and his brother Gladstone crossed many paths with different people. Two persons in particular that stood out were Mr. Docky Lym and Mr. Sing Chin. At that time, none of them knew that these crossing of paths would be serendipitous. In 1999 the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and Progressive Grocers of Jamaica Ltd. was formed by the four friends. In February 2000, the group acquired seven of the nine Shoppers Fair chain of supermarkets from the Mechala Group. Today the portfolio has grown to a total of (22) twenty-two supermarkets and growing. Although Mr. Loshusan was a founding Director at PGJ, he also remained active in his independent businesses, Loshusan and John R. Wong Supermarkets. He served as the CEO of Kenneth Loshusan & Sons Ltd, First Capital Corporation and Grant Marketing Co. Ltd. He was also a Director of Barlig Investments Company Ltd., Vincent Loshusan & Sons Ltd. and Gerk Ltd. His crowning moment of his business achievements, however, was arguably the acquisition of the lands around the Barbican roundabout. Kenneth Loshusan was a visionary before his time. His passion and dedication to the development of the supermarket industry was unwavering. After his passing on September 15, 2011, the Jamaica Observer paid tribute to him in a two-part story entitled “Remembering Supermarket Titan Kenneth Loshusan.” He was a humble man; a generous man, loved by all who had the pleasure of meeting him. He was loving husband and a dedicated father, whose legacy will continue to thrive through his children, grandchildren and future generations to come

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