Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 31, 2018 (DBSKN) — When the Verchilds High School held its 25th anniversary dinner on Saturday evening December 16 last year, the organising committee did not have to look far for a venue. From a business standpoint their locality had come of age, as the event that catered for nearly 200 persons was held in Old Road.
If the anniversary dinner were to have been held in November last year, just a few days earlier, its most likely venue would have been in Basseterre. One person who knows why that would have been so, is the Area Parliamentary Representative, the Hon Lindsay Grant who is also the Federal Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry, and Commerce.
“It is good to see that the Development Bank (of St. Kitts and Nevis) is reaching out into the rural communities empowering young entrepreneurs,” said the Hon Grant who had attended the dinner as the Area Parliamentary Representative. The dinner was held at the Railway Bar and Grill in Old Road.
He went on to explain why he had mentioned the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN): “A case in point is the Railway Bar and Grill right here in Old Road. It is a magnificent edifice and where persons from within the community – we have Old Road, Half Way Tree, Challengers etc. – could host functions in a building, and in an area that can match anywhere in Basseterre.”
The Verchilds High School’s anniversary dinner was the first event attracting over 100 persons at the Railway Bar and Grill, a new business venture that is owned and operated by a young entrepreneur, Ms Arlene Fyfield, who was empowered by the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN) through its business loans programme.
“I think it (Development Bank) gives the persons in the rural communities an opportunity to have functions in an area where they are from, rather than having to journey to Basseterre, and still knowing that the pleasantly is still here,” observed the Hon Grant. “The ambience of their surrounding and the service is fantastic.”
He concluded by saying: “It augurs well for St. Kitts and Nevis, and it is good because it is the same thing we teach in tourism that tourism is not just for Basseterre but it is for rural communities, and we have to engage rural communities to make sure that the national pie is spread around.”
The Railway Bar and Grill is located in the Wingfield Estate, Old Road, which is best known for its tourism related businesses. It is next to the discarded sugar train railway line and shed, and hence the name Railway Bar and Grill. The owner, Ms Arlene Fyfield, has been in the hospitality and catering business since 2008.
She had started with a small wooden structure in the same area in 2008, where she sold chicken and chips, water, sodas and other snacks catering to the locals and even tourists who she says loved her chicken. But with the encouragement of her daughter Ms Arnisha Agard she was able to think of expanding her business.
After they would have started construction of the new buildings to house the expanded business, Ms Fyfield’s boyfriend, Mr Keithroy Dyer who is a contractor, encouraged her to approach the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis for funding to allow for a smooth expansion. This was done and the bank responded positively and the business opened its doors on Sunday December 3 last year.
According to Mrs Kimmoy O’Loughlin-Burroughs, Assistant Manager, Business Support Unit at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN), the bank is open to financing to anyone whether they are in urban or rural areas as long as the business idea fits the area/location and that it is a viable business idea. Alternatively, some business owners may go for usda business loans instead, to see how much they could potentially get to move their business from the ground up.
“At the Development Bank everyone has an equal opportunity in terms of location or geography,” said Mrs O’Loughlin-Burroughs. “Ms Fyfield had been in the business for quite some time and would have gained enough experience to run a bigger operation. While she is keen to continue doing business with the local people, part of her target market is the tourists who come to the area.”
The bank official concluded: “Location-wise, the Railway Bar and Grill is in a good position for Ms Fyfield to reach her target market.”