Saturday, March 19, 2011

Authentically Bahamian Marketplace open at GBIA

The Authentically Bahamian Vendors Marketplace was officially opened yesterday, giving three Bahamian vendors another avenue through which to have their authentic Bahamian products showcased.

The store was opened Friday at the Grand Bahama International Airport, assuring the vendors direct access to tourists as they touch down on the island.

James Turner, director of commercial and business development for Hutchison Port Holdings shared that with the current state of the economy, the airport company decided that it wanted to do something that would help Bahamians with excellent products to get exposure.

"When we look at the cost associated with this type of space we know that many of the folks would not be able to afford it immediately, but we know that if we present their products and give them an opportunity they can only go up from there," he said.

Turner said that the company decided to utilize some of its premium space, convert it free of charge and allow the vendors to display their goods.

So far, he said, the undertaking has been getting a positive response.

"You begin to see the type of products that our people can produce and when given an opportunity they just begin to shine."

Lorraine Gibson, who will be displaying her products as Lorraine's Jams and Jellies said, she is pleased with the exposure her products will get now that they are available at the airport.

Gibson said that this opportunity is something that the vendors needed.

She said that the products she makes are all natural.

"I make Bahamian jams and jellies out of native fruit. They are all purely natural, with no preservatives," Gibson said. "I pick the fruit myself and I prepare the fruit. There is no dye or anything."

She added that they come in a variety of flavors from seagrape, tamarind, guava, mango and gooseberry.

Cynthia McKenzie said that she would be displaying her specialty, sand jewelry and other products ranging from vases and other products made with sand.

She said, she has been in business for five years and while it has been going well at the different outlets, a new one was welcomed.

"I thinks it's a very good opportunity for the tourists to have something locally made," McKenzie said.

She shared that she recently began making leaf jewelry.

"I'm picking up leaves and turning them into treasures," McKenzie said.

Sophia Rolle, proprietor of Jubilee Bath and Body said that products ranging from body lotions, shower gels, bath salts, perfume oils, handmade soap, clutches, bags and jewelry would be among the products that she would be making available to the public.

"We are thankful for this opportunity given to us to display our products here," she said. "We appreciate it and we just want to thank everybody who is involved in this project. We thank them for giving us this opportunity to display our craft."

Rolle shared that the company uses natural products, including sea salt from Ragged Island and coconut oil from Andros.

Philip Carey, airport director shared that the new store would give the vendors maximum visibility and virtually no cost.

"We are here to assist and we have developed this area and hopefully it grows and we get other persons seeing this and getting involved and this program can grow," he said.

Carey added that store would give tourists and residents one location to get authentically made Bahamian products.

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