Jackie Minott remembered as champion of industry

Jackie Minott remembered as champion of industry

Sunday Observer writer

Sunday, January 19, 2020

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Prominent Manchester business giant John O Minott Sr, affectionately called Jackie Minott, who died on Thursday at age 84, is being remembered as a stalwart of Jamaica's coffee industry.

Minott Sr died at the Hargreaves Memorial Hospital here, after being ill for the past four years.

“[He] was a stalwart in his field and has made significant contributions — not just to the parish of Manchester but to our country and the globe at large. He has left an indelible impact on the lives of thousands and he will forever be remembered for his fighting and determined spirit to make Jamaica great,” President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce Kenisha Dwyer Powell said in a statement.

“For many years he and his son John O Minott Jr, led the family-owned business Jamaica Standard Products (JSP) to international status and recognition. Thousands of jobs and respective linkages were created under his visionary leadership,” she added.

Minott Sr took over the reins of JSP in 1974 from his father who founded the business in 1942 and propelled it into the coffee market.

Minott Jr said his father modernised and expanded after taking over JSP.

“In those days the business was primarily manufacturing tiles as well as coffee. My father expanded the coffee business to include the growing of coffee both in the high mountains and the Blue Mountains. He added additional products such as coffee liqueur and a range of sauces and spices,” Minott Jr told the Jamaica Observer in an interview.

Presently: JSP operates two farms; a 300-acre enterprise in Cave Valley, St Ann, and a 78-acre property in Spring Hill, Portland.

Minott Sr's vision led to community development and employment opportunities.

“In my grandfather's days there were probably 15 persons employed. We are now up to 180 persons permanently employed. During the reaping season we may go up to about 400 persons during the peak of the season,” said Minott Jr.

The third-generation business expanded its base in Williamsfield, Manchester. There the company houses its roasting, distribution and administrative operations.

“My father led the charge in getting into several overseas markets. He got the company's products into North America, Japan and the United Kingdom. The company has also added China to our market,” said Minott Jr.

Minott Sr also started the annual High Mountain Coffee Road Race. The over 30-year-old event is considered to be the oldest road race in Jamaica.

“The road race started in 1983. We missed two years – 2018 and this year due to his illness. We made a decision as a company that we weren't going to pursue the race this year. He made a desire to foster distance running in Jamaica. In those days it was not like now where we have a plethora of road races. High Mountain is the oldest road race in Jamaica at this stage,” said Minott Jr.

He remembered his father as a visionary and innovator.

“He was my mentor and he put me under his wings from an early age. He brought me into the business from I was in school. He taught me to become knowledgeable and involved in the business. He trained me to take over from him. He was very hard-working, innovative and always had good vision and ideas that were practical. He had a good skill for bringing his ideas to reality,” Minott Jr stated.

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