The National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE) is ensuring that no business is left behind when it comes to improving customer service in Barbados.
As such, the organisation has targeted sno-cone vendors through a new initiative, the NISE Sno-Cone Experience Project.
This scheme is aimed at enhancing the physical appearance of sno-cone carts and strengthening the customer service and communication skills of the vendors.
The project, which is a joint collaboration with Digicel, Harris Paints and Wolverine Ice, takes place in two phases.
Phase One included customer service training, painting of the carts, and the provision of branded umbrellas and shirts.
Phase Two will be the NISE 100 Days Sno-Cone Experience, which begins tomorrow and will run until December 12. During this period NISE will organise for mystery shoppers to buy from the vendors to ensure they are continually maintaining high standards.
During a ceremony this morning to officially launch the initiative, chief executive officer of NISE Kim Tudor highlighted the importance of micro-businesses, including vendors, to the island’s landscape.
“We have identified the sno-cone vendors and some other vendors that we will share with you later, to help them as a part of their development,” she said, noting that the project came out of the 100 Improvements in 100 Days initiative.
Also outlining the vital role that vendors play in the development of the economy and the need for entrepreneurs, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Senator Patrick Todd called for some aspects of sno-cone vending to be reintroduced.
“Sno-cones have been a part of Barbadian culture for many years. I remember when I was a lad there were only one or two sno-ball vendors at the time; this seems to be a lost trade. I invite cultural interests in our island to conduct the necessary research in order to revive this lost art so that it can be preserved . . . These vendors would use a metallic shaver to shave a large block of ice . . . This revival would be well received, possibly through various events such as the Oistins, Holetown and Crop Over festivals,” he said.
He also called on sno-cone vendors to be creative and innovative while offering some “healthy options”.
“You sno-cone vendors have an opportunity to be creative. How about offering a diet sno-cone where, rather than using sugar, you are able to offer an alternative for those diabetics . . . and how about adding some local flavours to your syrup so as to offer perhaps a mango, sour sop or guava syrup?” he said.