THe Freeport News
WEST END, Grand Bahama -- The Monday, August 9 soft re-opening of the West End Bakery and Café – a fixture for West End – provided employment for five residents of the West End community.
Local businessman Jeff Butler, committed to reviving the economy of the community where he grew up, embarked on a program that he believes will not only revitalize, but also be an economic stimulus for West End. The reopening of the West End Bakery and Café is one of many projects Butler intends to see materialized. "A bakery has always been an important part of West End's economy," Butler told The Freeport News during an interview at the newly refurbished building Tuesday afternoon.
As a child, Butler remembers buying coconut tart for one shilling from Miss Lilly Hollingsworth's bakery in the early 60s. He noted that bakeries in West End have always been a destination for residents of Freeport, who would pick up their weekly bread and make a day out of their trip, eating at restaurants, buying conch salad and fritters from the waterside conch stands and spending money at West End's small businesses.
What was most important for Butler in the reopening of the bakery, was providing employment for five residents of West End. "Although it may sound like a small number, five people finding permanent employment at this stage in the economy is important," he added.
Another benefit to having a bakery in that community, said Butler in terms of providing specialty items and fresh bread goods for locals and to visitors at Old Bahama Bay. "When the yacht visitors arrive, hit the dock and are done clearing customs they can order 20 gallons of milk, plus 10 loaves of bread." Butler sees this as a "plus" for West End and Old Bahama Bay.
In addition to opening the bakery, Butler also cleaned up the surrounding area, including painting the bus stop along the sea wall and in the water - removing the old conch shells and glass bottles.
He noted that the West End Bakery and Café will supply wholesale to the restaurants and resorts located in West Grand Bahama. Breads and pastries from the bakery will be available at Butler's Specialty Foods and in the future at Butler's Food World. Aside from fresh baked goods, Butler said that specialty items are also available at the bakery. "We have all of Butler's hot sauces, unique goodies and the like because people, especially tourists always want unique items.
"Since the 50s tourists and natives alike would come to West End for liquor, rum, music, conch salad. The bakery ... the bread part of it has always been an integral part of the environment here, so now what we have to do is let everyone from Eight Mile Rock, Holmes Rock and Freeport know that when they drive down, they can now get their bread ... freshly baked."
"We would encourage all Grand Bahamian's to make the drive and enjoy West End's water front view and services," said Butler.
Photo: Local businessman Jeff Butler is committed to reviving the economy of the community where he grew up.