A returning national is fulfilling his lifetime dream of opening a Creole and International restaurant on home soil.
Lester Niles, who is originally from New Hampshire in St. George opened Spiceisle Restaurant and Bar last Friday in Westerhall, St. David.
The businessman who believes that many persons on the island would love to eat in a good restaurant is optimistic that his new venture will bring a difference to the parish.
The short opening ceremony was attended by representatives from the state-controlled Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), Ministry of Labour and several persons living in the Westerhall community.
After living in New York for over 30 years, Niles said he felt that it was time for him to come back home with his family and make his dream of opening a business a reality.
“It (has always been my dream to come back home and start a wonderful business and a restaurant is the first thing that came to mind, and I think it was very important for me to pursue my dreams to make it a reality”, he said.
“St. David’s is a wonderful place and in looking around I decided to first purchase property in the St. David’s area and … I have been very much received and decided to …open a restaurant,” he told reporters.
The restaurant, currently staffed by 10 persons including a local chef, will be offering both local and international dishes.
According to Niles, he is confident that customers would like what they see and get when visiting the restaurant.
He said: “What will make here stand out is the customer service, food, ambiance. I do construction, I built this establishment. The quality of craftsmanship is really within me. Having a beautiful place, I know everybody will love a nice restaurant to go to – the food, all different types of food – local, international…we need to have those kinds of things in the St. David’s area”.
Chief Executive Officer of GIDC, Che Keens-Douglas offered words of encouragement to the owner, stating that the corporation is always proud of this kind of investment.
“It simply represents everything that we should be about here in Grenada because Grenada’s bread is buttered right here in these kinds of businesses, understand that. You are a returning Grenadian who have decided to invest in Grenada – put your money where your mouth is, and this is the type of project that are necessary projects.
“We need good restaurants here in Grenada and we certainly need good restaurants and businesses here in St. David’s.
“…We welcome this type of business and the community welcomes these types of businesses and I want you to know that GIDC stands ready to assist you and support you in everything that you intend to do here and in the future.
Acting Senior Labour Officer in the Ministry of Labour, Reginald Lord implored upon the owner the need to be always consistent in his operation.
“This is a splendid idea…at the same time we have two problems, St. David’s people are very, very jealous so you have to engage them, engage the schools, be part of the modus operandi of the activities of the community and you will see the benefits”, he said.
“…Have a little variation, be consistent – post your menu every day on Facebook (so that) … everybody know they could guarantee when they stop here on a lunch time they could get a bowl of Cow Heel Soup or a bowl of Cow Head”, he added.
According to Lord, the villagers need to know that “even though I passed the shop up the road, I passed the barbecue pit up the road, when I reach here I could get a bowl of soup – be consistent”.
“Make sure that what you’re providing here is a brand and make sure, 20, 30 years from now what will be seen on the ground here is expansion,” he said.
Lord urged the business operator to explore training for workers through the government-sponsored Imani programme.
“Consider this operation as … a new beacon of hope, where you can train young people. We have the Imani Programme in Grenada, splendid idea”, he said.
“In my mind, I have a different view to what people (see the programme) to be because gramme) to be because I know in my department, the Ministry of Labour could boast (of having) the best Imani trainee ever passed in the history of Grenada.
According to Lord, this person was cultivated for Grenada within the Ministry of Labour.
“Don’t be afraid, recognise people with interest in the service that you provide and give them the opportunity to get training,” he said.
Lord also used the opportunity to make a plea to government to look at developing the Parish of St. David since it can be considered as a giant with tremendous potential.
He said that St. David is possessed with many attributes that makes it a gem and a parish where businesses can thrive.
“The policymakers in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique are not seeing the million-dollar worth of St. David, a parish in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. When you look at St. David’s you have access to the city, access to the airport, access to the food basket of Grenada which is St. Andrew”, he said.
The Department of Labour official pointed out that St. David is more ideal for business ventures unlike that corridor between St. George and the fishing parish of St. John.
Lord said: “You look at St. George’s – after you leave Grand Mal, hitting the west coast after Grand Mal beach is ridges right up to Gouyave. St. David’s is gentle slope, lovely beaches, the most reliable source of water, the best road network in the country and the policymakers cannot see the futuristic value of this parish”.
However, he noted that the true potential of the only parish without a town on the island will never be realised if the transportation problem in St. David is not addressed.
Lord said that the bus operators of St. David should look at forming a cooperative to help eliminate some of the issues currently facing them.
“You hear the bus drivers quarrelling with the government every day – road isn’t good, this isn’t good, tyres, parts expensive…If all the bus drivers in St. David’s come together, set up a cooperative, let each bus driver and each conductor contribute to a fund where they will be able to get concessions, bargaining rights to bargain with government and bring in spare parts, tyres at concessionary rates wherein the shareholders could get at least 30% discount on the 100% mark up, you could have a bus running here.
“If the business is closing 10 o’clock in the night, you sure you can get transport to go to Grand Anse because you want to come in a place that is different, and transport is available.”