William Peter founded Peter & Company in 1891 as a sole partnership to engage in the business of coaling, in which it quickly grew to capture a substantial share of the market. The company was to remain dominant in the business until the early 1940's when oil replaced coal as fuel for ships.
Over the 20th century the Peter & Co. was to expand into a number of different business pursuits. In 1901, Peter & Co. ventured into general merchandising and shipping agencies. In 1906 it went into lumber and pharmaceuticals. Then in 1954 the company explored the automotive sector through Vauxhall agency. In 1980, Frozen foods were added to the business with the acquisition of Minville & Chastenet's cold storage facility at La Toc, St. Lucia.
After the death of William Peter in December 1933, the Company was owned and directed by his sons, Gregor and Alan. In 1949, the firm was transformed into a limited liability company and in 1961 it was purchased by J.N. Goddard & Sons (Barbados).
Peter and Company is split into two main divisions - food and beverage and non-food. The Company has five locations and employs 160 persons.
Peter & Company Today
Current operations are focused on import distribution and marketing of a diverse range of products. The food and beverage division covers a variety or dry, frozen, household goods, and liquor servicing both retail and institutional customers. A number of regional and international brands are represented. These include: Kellogs, Nabisco, Mars, Pillsbury, Philip Morris, Anchor, United Distributors And Vintners.
The food division also has a small wholesale/retail outlet in central Castries, St. Lucia's capital. This serves as a channel of distribution as well as a showcase for the brands and products that the company represents.
A new supermarket - GL Food Market - was opened in September 2010 in the new Baywalk Shopping Mall in St Lucia with state of the art delicatessen, in-house bakery, a fresh-to-go section and specialty foods. This supermarket was sold to Consolidated Foods Ltd effective June 1st, 2013.
The non-food division includes an auto department, building supplies, paint shop and insurance agency representing M & C Insurance Co. Ltd. The auto department represents Nissan (both vehicle sales and parts) and all after sales support and service carried out in its own workshop. The department also represents Baranite construction equipment.
The building supplies department retails first class quality lumber and steel; whilst the paint shop, also located in central Castries, retails brands such as Berger, Harris and Leewinds in addition to other paint related products.