Saturday, April 20, 2024

MONDAY MAN: For the children’s sake

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A LITTLE OVER FOUR YEARS AGO, Shawn Broomes was an employee at a block factory when his right hand was caught in a machine. It was crushed. Bones were broken and steel plates were implanted.

He was hospitalised for a week. Those few days were the first time in almost 30 years that he had nothing to do.

From the time he was 15 years old, he was a “working man”, stirring concrete and doing labour work.

“I know hard work and I have no problem with it, I love it,” he boasted.

But lying on a hospital bed for the first time in his life, Broomes had time to just relax and reflect on life.

His life wasn’t bad. He lived in a comfortable and happy home in Holder’s Hill, St James, with his two children, Akeem and Shonika, but there was a void somewhere. He had not yet achieved the goal of starting his own business.

“I reflected on life in general and putting plans in place for my children because I didn’t want them to go through the type of hardship I went through coming up in life. I know what it is like to go hungry. I know what it is like to be treated badly. I didn’t want that for my children – they are my pride and joy. I did always love children and if it is one thing I hate, it is to see children suffering. I always said I wanted to be rich and help people; not rich for me, but to help others.”

Broomes didn’t become rich in the literal sense but just days after he was released for hospital, he established SAS Trading (named after himself and the children), motivated by his desire to help others.

“I can tell you I help so much people through this business. Although I don’t make loads of money from it, a lot of people often tell me I am rich spiritually and that is what really drives me to push this business,” he added.

Broomes started by selling bottles and later he offered sand, cement and stone for sale.

“For years I used to sell my soft drink bottles to a man and I realised things getting hard and I decided that if he could do it to make money, I could do it to make extra money for me and my children,” Broomes said, as he and Shonika sorted through bottles at the family home.

“Then one day I went to work and asked the secretary if anybody calls for single bags and she said, ‘Yes, there are a few people’ – so I went to my boss and made a proposition . . . . I didn’t believe [the business] would have taken off like it has and now I have basically become the bottle man in the community and likewise with the cement and sand and stone,” the 44-year-old said.

Broomes still has his other job, which he doesn’t plan to leave anytime soon. He works at that plant during the day and when his work day is finished, he turns to his business. Even if that means sorting bottles into the wee hours of two or three o’clock while the whole neighbourhood sleeps.

“I may not be able to compete with the really big companies but I can compete in the area of good customer service. The business is driven by good service. And sometimes I may very well have to . . . burn my candle at both ends to ensure that my customers are satisfied . . . .”

For him, one bag of cement or two metres of sand or stone is never too small. He sees it as an avenue by which to leave a legacy for his children.

Broomes hopes to grow his business into a full-fledged hardware retail.

“Bottles in particular is a lot of hard work and tiresome. Sometimes you have to go in people’s yard [with] grass high, bottles pelt all about. I don’t know if they think you are a garbage collector because you come to buy bottles, but this is something I do because I can’t explain to you how much I love my children and children in general. It is all about making a better way for them,” he added. (SDB Media)

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