Another milestone in the manufacturing and commerce history of Barbados was marked over the weekend when the Oran family celebrated 50 years of the existence of the company bearing the family name, and 25 years of Sheraton Mall.
Paying tribute to Oran’s success, Minister of Commerce and Industry Donville Inniss spoke of the culture of productivity and entrepreneurship within the family businesses.
“As a manufacturing enterprise, I think Oran is one that we really must celebrate. It has brought to the fore the level of creativity that really and truly must be celebrated in Barbados,” Inniss said during Saturday evening’s reception at the Crane Resort, at which he hailed the contribution of pioneer Marshall Oran.
Scott Oran, who has been co-steering the family enterprise along with his father for 35 years, traced the development of Oran Limited from “very meagre beginnings” in the 1960s manufacturing furniture, to a major enterprise, providing employment for many.
“Our manufacturing company for five decades has been doing so many different things, contributing so much to the Barbados economy, the infrastructure, providing employment for 300-plus people, and networking in export markets as well as our local markets, and always just trying to be a couple years ahead of the competition, so that it gives us that competitive advantage to make us in Barbados the preferred choice of what is available from everyone else.
“The 1960s saw this happen. The 1970s we continued to invest, to expand, to increase capacity to add products and variety to what we already have, And that is really our model for the future as well.
“When we talk about family relationships, I’ve been here for 35 years doing a lot of different things and never having a dull moment,” he added.
Over the years, the company’s vision has developed beyond manufacturing, giving birth to the Sheraton Mall.
Manager of the Mall Sharon Oran credited her father-in-law Marshall, her husband Scott, as well as other investors for recognising 25 years ago that Barbados needed a shopping venue beyond the confines of the city.
“[Back then] Bridgetown was the only place that people shopped. There was no out of town destination in Barbados. What followed was years of forming, moulding and solidifying that reality within the hearts of Barbadians . . . our story grew 200 per cent with 35 stores in 1997, to 125 stores in 2014,” she said.
“Sheraton re-designed itself every few years to reflect the needs of the Barbadian family. With each expansion we sought to provide a more comprehensive location, not only for shopping but for socialising, eating, meeting friends, entertaining. And in 2000 we opened the first multiplex cinema in Barbados,” she noted.
For Justin Oran, a third generation Oran, and son of Scott and Sharon, “family values, such as honesty, hard work, embracing change and the importance of reputation have been passed between generations for the benefit of these companies.
“These values go deeper than just benefiting the family and the organisation, they also have an impact on the communities in which we live.”