Friday, March 1, 2024

Brisk trade by side of the road


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It is Bajan ackee and mango season and all around, vendors can be seen selling the sweet fruits along the sides of the road and often in the middle of it.
Albert Grant is one of them. He sells ackees near the JTC Ramsay Roundabout, popularly known as the Bussa Roundabout.
“As long as I get ackees, I does be here, even on weekends,” he said, adding he had been doing so for the past ten years.
He said he also deals in fruit such as dunks, plums, mangoes and fat pork once they were in season.
Grant sells his fruit among traffic, which is a dangerous occupation. “To tell the truth, some cars does come fast and I have to caution them as sometimes [drivers] don’t see people crossing, he said. “As for me, I got to watch myself too.” He often helps elderly people cross as well.
As for business, Grant said it was brisk as he could sell up to 75 bundles of ackees a day at $2 each bundle.
“Business is not bad; it is a way to keep out of trouble. The best thing a young person on the block looking for work can do is look for a hustle. Do something but do it in the right way and don’t get in trouble,” he said.
In Hothersal Turning, Ian Webster was roasting corn at the side of the highway. This is of course not the entertainer but a farmer looking to earn an extra dollar.
“I grow potatoes, pumpkins, okra, cucumber, banana squash, pigeon peas and corn and I sell most of it at Exchange Plantation but I have been roasting corn and selling it for the past eight years as a hobby and a way get a faster dollar,” he said.
Webster said he usually sold roast corn in Canewood Road but as school was on vacation, he found he could do a more brisk business in Hothersal Turning. When the Street Beat team passed, he said he had already sold 40 ears of corn at $3 each.
“Business is alright for now; a lot of people love roast corn. A man came for corn and asked me to roast it in the husk because that’s how they do it in Canada,” he said.
Right on cue, one of the roast corn lovers appeared. Erma Ambrose said she spotted Webster and does not pass up a chance to eat roast corn.
“I wouldn’t pass it because I love it but I haven’t had it in so long so I’m glad Mr Webster is here,” she said.
While Webster was no longer operating from Canewood Road, Kirt Williams was still there selling his baked nuts. He said he had been doing so for the past six years and had expanded his business.
“I started with mostly nuts, snacks and drinks then branch off to fruits. You got to get bigger and strive for something better because you can’t stand still; it’s all about progress,” he said.
Williams said hard times had struck him as well but he was “hanging in”. As for why he decided to become a roadside vendor, he said it was a matter of necessity.
“I got laid off so it was either look for money or stand and suffer or going the illegal route. My spirit just led me to do this,” he said.
Williams said one change he had to make was a slight relocation to accommodate traffic as he didn’t want to cause any jams. He also gave youth looking for a job some advice.
“You got to do something. If you want to be self-employed, risk something because you never know, you may find you enjoy it and can make a living, once it ain’t illegal,” he said.


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