Couple creatively navigate downturn in business
LEROY JOHNSON and his wife Lorna operate a cookshop and lounge in Gimme-Me-Bit, Clarendon, and for the couple, it took creative juggling to survive the downturn in business brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson told The Gleaner that after things got “tight” they came up with a plan to continue making a profit.
A television set was installed at the front of the cookshop and connected to the cable network in the area with the hopes of luring residents to the location where they could “chill and watch sports”.
“People had nowhere to go so we just come up with this plan where people can come out and have a nice time, all while respecting the curfew hours,” he noted.
He further said the aim was to show live cricket and football matches, adding that residents love sports. “So we put up a TV where we can watch some cricket and football ‘cause in this area people love sports, we can fry some chicken, fries burgers, do some other things and enjoy the game,” he told The Gleaner.
A way to give back
Johnson said since they came up with that strategy, they are being patronised by a lot of youths as well as elders who enjoy the games and chill.
“There is nothing to do otherwise in this community, it is just dead suh,” he said of activities in the area.
He also notes that they had to cut down on the food prices as the reality is that many people are not earning and some got laid off.
“But you still have to do something and it really work, it’s not a big profit, but we just work and hope fi di best till the turnaround and better time comes,” he said.
For his wife Lorna, the restaurant is more than trying to eke out a large profit as she said it’s also a way of giving back to the community and using the hangout space to mentor the young boys who are getting themselves into trouble.
“They can come and sit down and if they are hungry, not saying that every time it will be so, but will give them a plate of food,” she notes.
Her husband, agreeing with her strategy, said with crime being rampant in Jamaica it is a good way to interact and influence the youths in the community.
Looking ahead, Leroy said he is hoping for the pandemic to be over and the country can fully open up to entertainment activities.
He has plans to boost the business which he started a few weeks ago, where the customers had the opportunity to win two high-end phones by purchasing a large meal.
For Mother’s Day, he said a lucky customer could win a 52-inch television set by purchasing a meal.
He said a major project coming up will be a domino tournament targeting women from the community and other surrounding areas.