Learning from COVID-19: Trelawny business owners try to pick up the pieces

Regional

Learning from COVID-19: Trelawny business owners try to pick up the pieces

BY ONOME SIDO
Observer West writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

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The novel coronavirus pandemic has caused many Jamaicans to 'tun dem han and mek fashin' ̶ from registered taxi operators becoming farmers and fruit sellers to an increase in courier services aiming to satisfy a new demand.

The switch may be adaptable for these and other individuals, but for most who have invested heavily in their businesses, COVID-19 has posed a serious challenge to manoeuvre.

Warren Clarke, owner of Parts To Go and Accent Innovations Production in Falmouth, Trelawny, has seen losses of 80 per cent and 100 per cent respectively in patronage from his consumers.

“Parts To Go is the supplier of Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda parts and accessories. Most of our clients are working-class individuals. Since most industries have been affected and they are currently out of work, I guess people are spending on the more important things. I can tell you that continuous prayers and determination are why we are still open today,” said Clarke.

Clarke also started Ascend Innovations last year May, offering event planning, wedding and decor, stage and lighting, LED screens and audio-visual equipment, however with the closure of the entertainment industry and the social distancing guidelines, that business is temporarily closed.

“COVID-19 has shown me the importance of having more than one business ventures and in my case, more than two since both businesses have been affected,” Clarke opined.

“I stayed in most of the time and only went out when I had to. I got a little support from my regular customers. One thing that COVID-19 has taught me is that there should always be plans in place for any disaster,” Reid said.

Conversely, Rammond Smith from Smith's Sanitization Limited in Ulster Spring, Trelawny, has benefited from COVID-19 as the demand for his products increased due to the upgraded sanitisation guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

“COVID-19 has taught me, as a businessman, that I have to be forward-thinking at all times and also be flexible.

“I have started a campaign with my staff on how to adapt to changes and move with the times.

”When this COVID-19 started, I saw an opportunity. We looked at the market space and saw what was needed and offered our services. It also taught me that we can't be set in one way, because the world is moving so fast and we have be able to adapt to changes very fast if we are to survive,“ Smith said.

Smith informed the Business Observer that he took the initiative to give back to the community, namely to the Ulster Spring Police Station and the Western Regional Health Authority.


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