Big bucks for CARIFTA vendors

Jansen Williams, owner of lil' Laura's Hut.

The much-touted economic impact of the 2018 CARIFTA Games was felt as small retailers, offering a wide variety of food and beverage options, said they wrapped up the holiday weekend with a pretty penny in their pockets.

CARIFTA patrons lined up in mass numbers to have a try of the savory dishes and vendors were just as eager to welcome the business.

Patrons saw traditional offerings with a flare this year which included a guinep infused cracked conch; tropical gyros; homemade ice cream; and sliced mangoes, covered in vinegar, hot sauce, black pepper and salt.

Lamantha Edgecome, owner of Donkey Cone ice cream said, the weekend event surpassed her expectations.

“This weekend had us on our toes,” Edgecombe said.

“It’s been a very busy one for us, but we are thankful. We have been swamped with adults and kids from 9:00 a.m. in the morning, straight through into the night. Business is very good.”

“Business has been really good this weekend. You’ll find that this year’s event doesn’t have as many vendors as previous games, so, that works in our favor. It’s usually double this amount that we have out here now, but with less vendors, the greater monopoly we have to make some extra dollars,” shared Joshua Wells, owner of Island Daiquiri.

Many of the vendors Eyewitness News spoke to said they were experienced caterers who have serviced many other major events held at the national stadium.

In fact, Chef Kevin Culmer, owner of Tropical Gyros said, he launched his business at the 2015 International Association of Athletics Associations (IAAF) World Relays event.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to still be able to come out to these events and introduce my product to people who haven’t experienced it as yet,” Culmer said.

“The product that we offer is very different. No one else sells gyros out here and we have taken it up a few notches by adding different things like pineapples, shrimp, salmon and other special ingredients.

“I came up with this idea and the public has received it so well. Being a Chef, I wanted to create something different and it’s been a big hit since 2015.”

Another vendor who spoke with Eyewitness News said, she profited big time from what she said was her “outside of the box thinking” as well.

Kim Hanna, owner of Guineps, shared how her business has taken Bahamian cracked conch to another level.

“Guineps are the secret that makes our cracked conch the best on the island,” Hanna said.

“Business has been very good so far. The international persons are really the ones who are enjoying our product the most, because they can’t get it anywhere else the way that we serve it. So, they’re very excited about it,” said Hanna.