Even in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, Barbados is open to business.
That was the declaration of Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Kerrie Symmonds as he welcomed international brand Starbucks Coffee Company to the island’s shores.
The Starbucks Barbados Café located in One Haggatt Hall, will officially open to the public on Friday.
Speaking at the official launch on Wednesday afternoon, Symmonds said while the COVID-19 pandemic had crippled Barbados’ economy over the past year, it was encouraging to see that investors still viewed the country as an ideal destination to set up business.
“You are not opening your doors at a time when it is going to be business as usual in Barbados. I have mentioned COVID, but COVID is but one of the challenges that we’ve had to face….We have had to endure our first hurricane in over 60 years and though we have no volcano we’ve had to manage the fallout of a volcano and the worst of its type in over 100 years.
“It is because of that total set of circumstances and the reality in which our economic performance has been checked in a way that would not normally happen, that we have to be mindful that our story, up to this point, has been really about dealing with deferred investment in Barbados, coping with distressed businesses and trying to make sure that those distressed businesses do not become failed businesses, and basically stabilizing the Barbados economy,” Symmonds said.
“It is vitally important, therefore, that an investment of this nature, which comes at the right time, sends the right type of signal that Barbados is open for business and that Barbados will continue to be open for business in spite of the very sobering backdrop….”
Symmonds said the presence of Starbucks, a world-renowned brand, would not only add value to the island as a tourist destination but would also assist Barbados’ ability to reach world class standards and to maintain that level of service delivery.
“We want to make sure that we have an infrastructure in this country that is very service oriented and very standards oriented. Bringing an entity like Starbucks Corporation to Barbados helps us to develop that know-how,” he said.
Caribbean Coffee Traders Limited (CCTL), through its sub-licensee Caribbean Coffee Baristas (Barbados) Ltd., will be the operating licensee of Starbucks retail stores in Barbados Regional Director of CCTL, Roxanne Rose revealed that Barbados is the fifth market where
CCTL operates Starbucks retail stores, following in the footsteps of Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, the Cayman Islands and Panama.
She said the local Starbucks would present opportunities for 15 Barbadians who would be hired to work.
Rose said the plan was to eventually open more stores on the island. “For Starbucks and CCTL, this opening is just the beginning of an exciting journey.
As part of our commitment with the Barbados market we have set goals to open more stores across the island in the coming years with a shared commitment towards creating opportunities and delivering a unique coffee experience,” she said.
Country Manager for Starbucks Barbados, Simon Elias disclosed that a drive-thru store would be opened in Hastings, Christ Church within the next three to four months. (RB)