by Emmanuel Joseph
One of the island’s leading office and store retail complexes is being sold out by the owner, even though he considers it a potentially multimillion-dollar profit-making business.
Lawrence Andrew Stuart told Barbados TODAY this afternoon, he was selling the three-storey building known as One Accord Plaza at Warrens in St. Michael because he wants to return to his passion and “first love” of manufacturing and to be able to better serve the Lord as a true Seventh Day Adventist.
Stuart, the founder of the now defunct Stuart’s Engineering and one of the leading local furniture manufacturers between the 1970s and 1990s, said when he built In One Accord for $5 million 12 years ago, it was not meant to be a retail facility, but a manufacturing complex including showrooms.
He explained, too, that running the Plaza was a hindrance to him being able to keep the Sabbath Day, in that he was obligated to be on duty when tenants called him out on Saturdays.
The 62-year-old veteran businessman said that the property, now valued at about $12 million, was a “very good” location with potential to be a multimillion dollar business and whoever eventually buys it over, could be assured of a wise decision.
He disclosed that he and another manufacturers were in the process of constructing a furniture plant to produce wood and metal household products and that would employ about 70 Barbadians. He revealed that he currently had about two million dollars in equipment standing by.
However, before building that outlet, Stuart will be moving into an outlet that had been gutted by fire at Spring Garden, St. Michael by next month.
The businessman informed this newspaper that he was awaiting the final word from the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation with respect to the land he and his partner intended to buy from that corporation for the new factory.
Stuart noted that while a number of people had called and queried about the 45,000 square foot property, there were no serious offers as yet.
He told this newspaper that in the early years of his involvement in manufacturing, he was not as “strong in the Lord” as he is now and therefore, his current priority was putting God before the operation of the existing business.
“Now I am devoted for God. I have a ministry, Tis So Sweet Ministry… growing in the Lord tremendously and my love is for the Lord, this business as far as I am concerned, sometimes I look at it and, really operating serving the public, it is a hindrance in my Christian life, because I am a Seventh Day Adventist,” the corporate leader pointed out.
“We believe by the Word of God that the Sabbath is important and it is God that said ‘remember the Sabbath Day. So, I am committed to that, to God. So sometimes I might get calls … something wrong, you know; sometimes you have to make a decision if to really serve God or… My loyalty now is to God,” Stuart declared.
He said he prayed and asked God to remove whatever was hindering him from serving Him. “It has to be God’s will,” insisted the business owner, “to get this out, because it is my will to do God’s work. Even disposing of it, it’s not like a house that you can naturally dispose of, God got to intervene in a time like now when the market is a tight market, God is the one that would have to assist, because I am only a steward of God’s property. God own it as I see it. He is the one who gave me it and He would have to decide, ‘well look, I will send someone that will make that provision’.”
Stuart stated that managing a manufacturing undertaking again, would not only excite him again, but give him the flexibility to honour the Sabbath. [email protected]