Steady and vibrant
CHARLES ROWE BRIDGE in St George is considered a central business hub for many people on the go who are seeking to get away from the hustle and bustle in other places across the island.
Business operators in that central parish believe the area is a transit point to other parts of the island and more people found it convenient for them to do business in a more relaxed way.
Charles Rowe Bridge is surrounded by a number of densely populated areas, such as Salters to the south, the Glebe area to the east, Lower Estate to the west, and Foster Lodge to the north. It is home to a number of small businesses, banks, churches, schools and other business outlets.
The Bridge Supermarket satisfies the grocery needs of many of the residents in the vicinity.
Owners Michael and Maria Trotman said that over the years, business had been steady.
“I wouldn’t say there has been an increase in spending but it is steady. We have been able to maintain our business volumes by continuing to offer fresh produce. That is one of the things we focus on, as we support a lot of the local farmers in the area,” he said.
“Business here is definitely not dead. It is a vibrant community,” said the duo, almost in unison when asked how they would describe business in that rural town.
They noted that lots of social activities take place in The Glebe which would contribute to business in the area.
“We work along with community groups once it is possible and some of them come and do cake sales,” he said, pointing out that they have seen an increase in vagrants in the close-knit community.
“One of the advantages of this location is that it is convenient as you leave [Bridgetown]. . . .
You don’t have to be held up in traffic. The area has been a growing one. So not only has traffic increased physically but the product range has been increased,” said the owner of the only supermarket in the vicinity.
Entrepreneurs in the Bridge House Mall, located just feet away from the Shell Service Station, believe they would get more business if the old building at the front were either utilized or demolished.
Sandy Morris, assistant manager of Discount Hardware, said besides the lack of visibility, the mall needed to be advertised more.
“We find that a lot of people come in and say ‘we didn’t know you have a business up here’.” Morris said that business “is moderate” but could be better.
She said shopping in Charles Rowe Bridge was all about convenience for many residents across the island.
“Business is okay but the old abandoned building is blocking our visibility,” said Karen Haynes, operator of the clothing store Eye 4 Fashion.
The entrepreneur said business would fluctuate on a weekly basis and it was mainly the pharmacy and the hardware stores that would bring business to the mall. She said despite the disadvantage of people not knowing about the mall, “business is normally moderate”.
Shara Babb said business activity in Charles Rowe Bridge was definitely lively and she believed all the area needed was additional publicity to attract more commerce.
Sharing similar sentiments was Pedahel Williams, operator of Cool Components Inc. He said while things were “a bit slow” for his business, there was still “a nice traffic flow of people in this nice country business area”.
“It is pretty modernized, with a number of businesses. If KFC does come to the old building there, more business would come,” he said.
It has been widely speculated for some time now that a KFC outlet would occupy the old building that once housed a number of businesses, including a pharmacy and a poultry shop.
A popular restaurant in the area is Marway. Wayne Leacock, the owner of that business, told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY business in Charles Rowe Bridge was definitely not dead.
“It is a busy area. The location is good. This is a hub; it can take you to St Joseph, St John, Christ Church, anywhere. Just branch off and you are there,” he said before pausing to serve a customer.
Leacock, who has been doing business for over 20 years, said he did not have any challenges or concerns about the area. In fact, the entrepreneur said he welcomed more small businesses in and around Charles Rowe Bridge.